The Decorah City Council is working on drawing up new language for the fireworks regulations that are part of city code.
The new language will still make it a misdemeanor for anyone to set off fireworks within the city limits, but because the Iowa Legislature has approved the sale of fireworks in the state, the Decorah city code must be changed. The proposed new city code language would require anyone selling fireworks in Decorah to do so on property that is zoned either commercial or manufacturing. The seller would also be required to notify the City Manager or Zoning Administrator before opening business.
Decorah City Council members discussed the new language at Wednesday night's city council meeting, but council member Steve Luse wanted more time to draw up specifics of regulations prohibiting the storage of fireworks during the off season. The issue will be referred to a committee for more work.
This year Bellino Fireworks took advantage of the new state legislation and set up a temporary fireworks tent in Centrum Plaza near Quillin's. Did their presence make a difference in the number of fireworks being discharged within Decorah's city limits? Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon reports his Department only noticed a slight increase in violations. The Decorah Police Department received nine complaints of fireworks being discharged between June 30th and July 4th this year, versus five complaints during the same period in 2016. Nixon says, "Although the number of complaints was not significantly higher, I can certainly say just from my own observation that there were far more fireworks being discharged than I have ever heard in the past."