Councilman Gabriel Beadle, left, handed over the gavel to Councilman Kevin Voisin who was elected council chairman Wednesday. Beadle was in turn elected council vice-chairman, having served a short interim tern rather than a full year.
Amendments to fireworks code may be considered
Parish council members discussed amending the ordinance regulating fireworks in St. Mary Parish at Wednesday’s regular meeting.
Councilman Glenn Hidalgo placed an agenda item to discuss and revise the existing ordinance that allows fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the parish at certain times. That ordinance does not pertain to municipal areas.
Hidalgo said he’s had noise complaints over the recent holidays. “We all knew when we put this in place that we’d have to do some tweaking to it,” he said. “I’d like some discussion on what needs to be tweaked.”
He said he’s not against fireworks, but said the window for fireworks use is Dec. 15 – Jan. 2 and “is too long a period without a break…there’s serious booming going on all hours of the night and it’s supposed to stop at 10 (p.m.) but it doesn’t. Some of it’s an enforcement issue, but I think if we cut it down to just a few days instead of a few weeks, that would help.”
An information sheet that would be distributed with fireworks sales would also be helpful to inform the public of the law, Hidalgo said.
“Bayou Vista is a tight neighborhood and subdivision,” Hidalgo said. “If we go by the ordinance, which is (no fireworks) a thousand feet from churches, community centers and the place that is selling the fireworks, if you go a thousand feet four ways that doesn’t leave much place left in Bayou Vista.”
Bayou Vista Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eric W. Hofsommer said, “I’m thinking that the time frames to sell and discharge fireworks, I don’t know why people need to discharge during the middle of the day. We did not have any calls on fireworks in the Bayou Vista area. I did hear people complaining throughout the community. If they cut it down like four days, two days before and two days after the event…we don’t need weeks of it.”
Fireworks are allowed from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Christmas, New Year’s and Fourth of July nights.
Councilman Gabriel Beadle said people should also realize that they are liable if fireworks cause a fire on other persons’ property. He also agreed with an information sheet and change of days and hours.
The sheriff’s department has been giving warnings but no tickets, Hidalgo said, since the ordinance is relatively new.
There were 22 complaints, last year legal counsel Eric Duplantis mentioned, and only half of those were able to be located.
Hidalgo proposed allowing fireworks Dec. 23 - 25 and Dec. 30 - Jan. 2.
Councilman Craig Mathews asked if those rules would apply to sales of fireworks; Beadle suggested allowing sales two days before the holiday or event.
Councilman Paul Naquin said that a term of July 3-5 for Independence Day fireworks and Jan. 30-2 may inconvenience persons who must work the next day.
The council agreed to further discuss details and consider amendments to the ordinance at a later date.
—Resolutions of respect were approved in memory of Wayne Stevens, Leon Kahn and Joseph Peter “JP” Morella.
—An ordinance was adopted allowing a servitude and right-of-way agreement between Water and Sewer Dist. 2, the Town of Berwick, the City of Patterson and parish government.
—Bonita Peltier was appointed to the Recreation Dist. 7 board; Roy Mitchell, Celitha Parker and Granderson Hamilton were reappointed to the St. Joseph Park advisory committee; and Bonnes Joseph Guidry was reappointed to the Recreation Dist. 7 board.