County Council won’t put fireworks ban on November ballot

EVERETT — An advisory fireworks vote won’t be lighting up the Nov. 8 ballot.

The Snohomish County Council decided Monday against asking voters whether they would support banning fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county. While the nonbinding vote would have had no bearing on areas governed by cities, it would have gone out to all voters in the county. That proved a sticking point for some council members and many of the 20 or so people who showed up to comment.

“My concern mostly comes from voter confusion,” Councilman Ken Klein said.

Klein, a former Arlington city councilman who now lives outside city limits, went on to say that, “I don’t want the people in the cities telling me how to live my life.”

Council Chairman Terry Ryan and Councilwoman Stephanie Wright said the results could have been sorted after the election to reflect incorporated and unincorporated areas.

“We won’t know unless we ask,” said Ryan, who headed up the effort to pass the advisory vote.

County civil prosecutors advised the council that they would be on better legal ground if they put the question to everyone countywide.

Ryan and Wright were on the losing side of a 3-2 vote. Councilmen Hans Dunshee and Brian Sullivan sided with Klein in the opposition.

Brier and Marysville enacted bans this year after voters signaled their wishes in advisory votes. The new restrictions are set to take effect in those cities next year. They’ll join a list of local municipalities with fireworks bans in place: Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway.

During a hearing on Monday that lasted about two hours, a youth pastor from Park Ridge Community Church, a Bothell-area congregation that operates a seasonal fireworks stand, brought up a concern shared by many who oppose banning fireworks.

“The biggest thing is the ban, as proposed, doesn’t get at the heart of the illegal fireworks danger,” Stanton Wisner said.

Many fireworks complaints involve activities that are illegal. July 4 is the only day people are allowed to use fireworks in unincorporated Snohomish County. Firecrackers and bottle rockets are banned by the state, although they can be purchased legally at tribal fireworks stands such as Boom City in Tulalip, where federal laws apply.

Fire District 1 interim Chief Brad Reading said that in his experience, bans succeed in reducing the amount of fireworks and associated dangers. His district’s service area includes cities that prohibit fireworks as well as unincorporated areas where they’re allowed. The difference between them is “night and day,” Reading said.

Heidi Fursetch believes the unincorporated Machias community where she lives has become “a dumping ground” for blowing things up. Fursetch said she sees no reason why anyone would oppose an advisory vote, regardless of their stance on the issue. She and other speakers expressed sympathy for charities that make money selling fireworks, but suggested they find other ways to support good causes.

“We’re not voting to ban Girl Scout cookies,” she said.

The question on the ballot would have applied to selling, possessing or discharging fireworks. Professional pyrotechnics displays would have been allowed with permits.

The advisory vote was one of three new fireworks restrictions under consideration this summer at the County Council.

The council decided in June to grant the county fire marshal the power to prohibit fireworks in times of extreme drought. Separately, the council is considering whether to allow people to create neighborhood-specific fireworks bans by petition. The idea, modeled after the county’s no-shooting zones, is set for a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Authorities found King County woman Jane Tang who was missing since March 2 near Heather Lake. (Family photo)
Body of missing woman recovered near Heather Lake

Jane Tang, 61, told family she was going to a state park last month. Search teams found her body weeks later.

Deborah Wade (photo provided by Everett Public Schools)
Everett teacher died after driving off Tulalip road

Deborah Wade “saw the world and found beauty in people,” according to her obituary. She was 56.

Snohomish City Hall on Friday, April 12, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish may sell off old City Hall, water treatment plant, more

That’s because, as soon as 2027, Snohomish City Hall and the police and public works departments could move to a brand-new campus.

Lewis the cat weaves his way through a row of participants during Kitten Yoga at the Everett Animal Shelter on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Downward cat? At kitten yoga in Everett, it’s all paw-sitive vibes

It wasn’t a stretch for furry felines to distract participants. Some cats left with new families — including a reporter.

FILE - In this Friday, March 31, 2017, file photo, Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company's facility in South Carolina after conducting its first test flight at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C. Federal safety officials aren't ready to give back authority for approving new planes to Boeing when it comes to the large 787 jet, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. The plane has been plagued by production flaws for more than a year.(AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)
Boeing pushes back on Everett whistleblower’s allegations

Two Boeing engineering executives on Monday described in detail how panels are fitted together, particularly on the 787 Dreamliner.

Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Struggling state ferry system finds its way into WA governor’s race

Bob Ferguson backs new diesel ferries if it means getting boats sooner. Dave Reichert said he took the idea from Republicans.

Traffic camera footage shows a crash on northbound I-5 near Arlington that closed all lanes of the highway Monday afternoon. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Woman dies almost 2 weeks after wrong-way I-5 crash near Arlington

On April 1, Jason Lee was driving south on northbound I-5 near the Stillaguamish River bridge when he crashed into a car. Sharon Heeringa later died.

Owner Fatou Dibba prepares food at the African Heritage Restaurant on Saturday, April 6, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Oxtail stew and fufu: Heritage African Restaurant in Everett dishes it up

“Most of the people who walk in through the door don’t know our food,” said Fatou Dibba, co-owner of the new restaurant at Hewitt and Broadway.

A pig and her piglets munch on some leftover food from the Darrington School District’s cafeteria at the Guerzan homestead on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Darrington, Washington. Eileen Guerzan, a special education teacher with the district, frequently brings home food scraps from the cafeteria to feed to her pigs, chickens and goats. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘A slopportunity’: Darrington school calls in pigs to reduce food waste

Washingtonians waste over 1 million tons of food every year. Darrington found a win-win way to divert scraps from landfills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.