Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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August 6, 2013

GOSHEN BOARD OF WORKS: Fireworks request put on back burner

Board will review Moose Lodge request further and revisit it next week

GOSHEN — Is approval by the city needed in order to host professional fireworks displays after the allotted dates and times laid out in the city’s fireworks ordinance? That’s a question the Goshen Board of Works and Safety encountered during its weekly meeting Monday afternoon.

The question arose with a request by Goshen Moose Lodge 836 member Mark Benton for permission to have a fireworks display on Aug. 31 following a planned car show.

“We are having a car show that day,” Benton said, “and would like to end our event with fireworks.”

Part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Goshen Fire Department Public Education Division, Benton explained. The lodge has already hired RKM Fireworks out of Edwardsburg, Mich., which is licensed to set of Class B fireworks. The permit application has been submitted on a state level, Benton said.

Benton said he made the request to the Board of Works because he was unsure whether professional fireworks displays were covered in the city’s fireworks ordinance and was advised by Goshen Fire Chief Dan Sink to seek clarification from the board.

According to the current ordinance, Goshen allows the use of consumer fireworks from June 29 to July 9. During those days, fireworks are permitted from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset, except on July 4, when they are permitted from 10 a.m. until midnight. Use of consumer fireworks within the city is prohibited at any other time during the year except between the hours of 10 a.m. Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. Jan. 1 for the New Year’s holiday.

However, the ordinance does allow exceptions provided that approval is first granted by the Board of Public Works and Safety, though the ordinance states that such exceptions are only allowed if the fireworks displays take place on real estate owned by a government entity.

While the ordinance clearly regulates consumer fireworks, city attorney Larry Barkes said he was unsure whether the ordinance applies to professional fireworks shows such as the one proposed by the Moose Lodge.

“As I recall, our ordinance does not affect professional fireworks,” Barkes said. “I don’t think the whole ordinance applies to professional fireworks. I think the state statute makes that exception.”

Due to the unclear nature of the issue and the potential impact to residents, Mayor Allan Kauffman suggested that the request be tabled for a week in order to allow the city’s legal department to determine if Board of Works approval is required for professional fireworks displays.

“I still think it would be good to wait a week and see what kind of input we get from other people and the public,” Kauffman said, “because this is a surprise to the public who may not want bombs blowing off in the air.”

The board agreed, and the request was tabled until the board’s upcoming Aug. 12 meeting.

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

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