Lake Placid imposes fireworks restrictions

Fireworks burst over Mirror Lake in Lake Placid on July 4, 2017. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid village board has adopted a local law that restricts who can set off fireworks and allows law enforcement to write tickets for noncompliance.

The local law passed Monday limits fireworks displays to events sponsored by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism or the village — unless the display is “a public celebration which benefits the community as a whole.”

The law effectively prohibits private fireworks displays, according to village attorney Janet Bliss.

It comes as the village receives an increasing number of applications from private organizations for fireworks displays, according to Mayor Craig Randall.

“In recent years both the town and the village have experienced an increased number of requests for fireworks displays, many for private benefit,” he said.

That led village officials to search for ways to “limit the frequency of these events to those that are conducted for public benefit,” Randall said, while also incorporating new state regulations related to the discharge of certain fireworks.

The village board first passed a policy imposing restrictions on private fireworks more than nine years ago. That policy required organizations that intend to set off fireworks to first complete an application with their contact information, license number and specifics on the date, time and location of the fireworks display. Both the Lake Placid police and fire departments had to sign off before any application was approved.

The local law the village board passed Monday gives that policy teeth.

Organizations are required to apply for a fireworks display permit through the Code Enforcement Office before putting on a show. In addition to the information previously required on applications, companies have to provide the amount and kind of fireworks they intend to set off, information on where the fireworks will be stored prior to the display, and a site plan showing from where the fireworks will be set off, the location of nearby infrastructure and where the audience will be located during the display. The organization will also have to post a bond of $1 million and apply at least 30 days in advance of the event.

Anyone who doesn’t comply with this local law on fireworks may face imprisonment or a fine between $250 to $1,000.

“We’ve tried enforcement with policy and practice, but it’s getting out of hand,” Randall said.

Beyond the increase in private organizations sending in applications, Randall said the village has received complaints from local pet owners about the noise from fireworks displays.

“The village is made aware by pet owners, that fireworks events can and do traumatize pets, with some pet owners asking that the frequency of such events be limited,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll have a few pets relieved of some anxiety.”

Sparklers and ground fireworks are still allowed, according to Randall.

The village is still considering how they will relay the existence of this new law to short-term rental owners, he said. Trustees on Monday discussed the possibility of requiring rental owners to post a notice of the law for tenants.