City of Oxford may continue fireworks ban despite State of Ohio change

Credit: Jessica Uttinger

Credit: Jessica Uttinger

Licensed exhibitors excepted in proposed new code section

OXFORD —Shooting off fireworks in the city limits will continue to be illegal if City Council approves an ordinance slated for second reading on Tuesday’s agenda, despite a state legislature action allowing the discharge of fireworks.

State H.B. 172 amended the Ohio Revised Code to allow any person authorized to possess consumer-grade fireworks to discharge, ignite or explode them on their property or, if permitted, to do so on another person’s property. The change refers to only certain designated days of the year.

The state change, however, allowed for an exception based on home-rule authority to permit cities to restrict days and times for ignition of fireworks or to completely ban the use of them.

This ordinance, which received first reading May 3, would continue Oxford’s ban on the use of fireworks in the city limits. It repeals the existing section of the city code and substitutes a new section retaining the prohibition on discharge of fireworks.

“The proposed ordinance amends the City of Oxford’s Current Fire Prevention Code dealing with fireworks by adding a new section. Section 1519.04 entitled Possession, Sale or Discharge Prohibited; Exceptions is amended by adding a new paragraph (f),” City Manager Doug Elliott wrote in a staff report accompanying the ordinance on the May 3 agenda. “The purpose of this proposal is to clarify that the possession, sale or discharge, ignition or exploding of fireworks is still prohibited in the City of Oxford regardless of the permission granted in H.B. 172 by the Ohio legislature and signed by the Governor on November 8, 2021.”

That state action specifically allows home rule cities to take action to ban fireworks, which the ordinance seeks to do.

The ordinance includes a paragraph saying both the fire chief and police chief of the city recommended Council opt out of H.B. 172 and reaffirm the existing ban on possessing, selling or discharging fireworks and that Council finds it in the best interests of the public to do so.

The new Oxford code section will replace one currently existing in the Fire Prevention Code, which also includes several other related bans. For example, the code bans use in a theater of what is known as fireworks showers containing potassium chlorate and sulfur. No person under age 18 is permitted to enter a fireworks sales showroom unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

An exception to the ban on possession or use of fireworks is a licensed exhibitor authorized to conduct a fireworks exhibition.

The new section of the Oxford code specifies the existing ban would continue and that this is being done based on provisions of H.B. 172.

“All provisions of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Oxford, Ohio including but not limited to Chapter 1519 et seq., concerning the possession, sale or discharge, ignition or exploding of fireworks, and all ordinances that regulate noise, disturbance of the peace and disorderly conduct, will remain in full force and effect regardless of the permission granted in H.B. 172 and the amendments to Ohio Revised Code 3743.45,” the new section would read.

City Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Courthouse building for the second regular meeting of the month

About the Author