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EBENSBURG, Pa. – Ebensburg Borough Council changed and formally passed a new ordinance Monday night that will restrict what fireworks residents of the borough will be able to set off.
Last month, the borough tentatively adopted a portion of a state House bill that became effective in September and governs the sales of consumer and display fireworks.
The Fireworks Law authorizes municipalities to restrict or limit certain uses of consumer and display fireworks.
When the bill came up for formal approval, Councilman Michael Owatt raised concerns of the language of the bill.
“I have a problem with the wording that we’re charging a taxpaying resident. If they want to set off fireworks, I can understand that they put their application in and making applications approved, and there’s not going to be that many of them the way that this is written,” he said, adding that he can’t see taking a $50 fee just for a resident to shoot off fireworks.
Owatt added that with many of the other expenses borough residents were expected to pay, such as sidewalk and sewer work, he couldn’t see adding a fireworks permit requirement unless it was for a company.
The original ordinance required a permit at the cost of $50.
Council voted to amend the ordinance, dropping the $50 fee for consumer fireworks, which includes all products that are not caps, sparklers or ground fireworks.
Permits will still be required, and the fireworks are not to be used by individuals who are under the influence of alcohol or under 18.
They are not to be directed at or from a vehicle, or within 150 feet of a building or animal housing.
Fireworks are restricted to use before 10 p.m., except on July 1, 2, 3 and 4, and Dec. 31 – when fireworks can be used until 1 a.m.
Permit applications for display fireworks will cost $100 and are limited to competent operators 21 years of age or older.
Display fireworks would be similar to what the borough sets off at Lake Rowena during the holidays.
All applications must be submitted 30 days in advance and will require approval by the chief of police or other borough official.
Those in violation may be subject to fines.
Copies of the full ordinance will be on the borough’s website and in the borough office.
The ordinance was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Theresa Jacoby opposing.
Katie Smolen is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KSmolen1230.
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36 In Sparklers First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.