GAYLE JOHNSON for LNP | LancasterOnline
When: Columbia Borough Council meeting, Nov. 4.
What happened: Council members plan to combat illegal fireworks by adding their discharge to a list of activities prohibited by the borough’s noise ordinance. Council may also decide to make pyrotechnics a nuisance.
The plan: Fireworks would remain illegal except for certain holiday periods such as July 4 and New Year’s Eve, with possible weekends added in if the holiday falls midweek. Borough counsel Evan Gabel presented the proposal to council members.
State law: Pennsylvania began allowing people to purchase consumer fireworks, such as firecrackers, Roman candles and bottle rockets, in 2017. These products must limit explosive material to 50 milligrams. However, state law also prohibits anyone from setting off these same pyrotechnics within 150 feet of an occupied building, whether or not anyone is inside at the time. In addition, those setting off a display must get permission from the property owner.
What changes?: Adding fireworks to a list of noise problems or nuisances would allow police to charge people associated with pyrotechnics, such as a property owner where fireworks were lit instead of proving who lit them. The borough also could create fines that increase each time someone is charged. “This is something I’ve done with a few other municipalities, and it’s worked pretty well,” Gabel said.