A boy lights fireworks in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Everett on July 4, 2018. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A boy lights fireworks in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Everett on July 4, 2018. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

County considers asking voters if fireworks should be banned

The Snohomish County Council could use the non-binding results to shape future decisions.

EVERETT — Debate about whether fireworks should be banned might be headed from the cul-de-sacs to the ballot box.

The Snohomish County Council on Tuesday discussed the possibility of adding a nonbinding advisory vote to the November ballot to gauge voter opinion on a potential fireworks ban in unincorporated urban growth areas of the county.

The yes-no question, which could be amended, now asks: Should the Snohomish County Council enact an ordinance prohibiting the sale, possession and discharge of consumer fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Snohomish County?

Councilmember Sam Low proposed the vote during an operations committee meeting. He said he’s not normally in favor of advisory votes, but with the council having no clear direction, letting citizens vote may provide clarity.

“I think this gives voice to a lot of people to share their views,” he said afterward.

Under state law, an ordinance banning fireworks could not take effect until the Fourth of July 2021. A year must pass from the date an ordinance is enacted until it becomes law. As a result, Low said the council has ample time to review the results of an advisory vote before making a decision on a ban.

“I want to be clear, I am not for banning fireworks,” Low said during the meeting. “It’s not something I am for, but in the same breath, I understand some residents want relief in certain areas.”

While the vote itself would not be decisive, two members of the council, Low and Chairman Terry Ryan, said they would act in accordance with the wishes of their constituents.

“I think it’s reasonable now to have the citizens have their say here and just tell us if they want a ban or not,” Ryan said. “It’s a nonbinding vote, but I’d honor what the citizens ask for.”

In 2016, Ryan proposed a similar advisory vote that the council rejected on a 3-2 vote.

The city of Marysville took a similar approach in 2015 when it placed an advisory vote on the ballot. It passed 59.25 percent to 40.75 percent, with 10,004 ballots cast. The city council then passed an ordinance banning possession, sale or use of fireworks within city limits beginning in 2017.

Fireworks are banned in Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway.

Tuesday’s discussion took place two weeks after South County Fire submitted a formal request with the county council to ban fireworks within its unincorporated areas.

Should the advisory vote signal that a majority of voters are in favor of a ban, the council could then take a deep dive into the results. It would look into whether a ban would be just for South County or for all of unincorporated Snohomish County.

“I thank everybody for recognizing that our county is very diverse and what works in one area might not work in another,” councilmember Stephanie Wright said.

Despite a potential ban affecting only unincorporated areas, every registered voter in the county will be asked the advisory question. The council could examine the precinct results of specific areas when making decisions.

Questions still remain, including how a ban on fireworks sales and possession would be enforced.

What’s next: The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday is expected to schedule public comment for July 24 on whether to put on the November general election ballot an advisory vote to ban fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county. A decision must be made by Aug. 6.

Adding the advisory vote to the Nov. 5 ballot would not cost the county additional money, due to the size of the ballot already.

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3449; idavisleonard@heraldnet.com. Twitter: IanDavisLeonard.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian along I-5. Investigators believed a man had parked on the shoulder to refuel.

FILE - A person walks near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington's redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked the job of creating new political maps to the state Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday to approve new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Do Snohomish County lawmakers want a 2020 presidential rematch?

The Herald contacted seven Republican legislators representing parts of Snohomish County about their primary choice. Five did not respond.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Firefighters respond to a report of a smoke alarm going off in the 100 block of West Main Street in Monroe on Monday morning. Fire officials confirmed the fire was coming from living quarters above Good Brewing Co. (Provided by Snohomish County Regional Fire and Rescue).
Fire damages apartment above Monroe brewery

Good Brewing Co. on West Main Street was listed as permanently closed Monday.

Tom Ceurvorst picks up his food order at Big Chicken on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free ice cream Wednesday for Shaq’s birthday at Big Chicken in Mukilteo

Sign a card for the NBA Hall of Famer and restaurant founder. Shaquille O’Neal turns 52 on March 6.

Flowers for slain trooper Chris Gadd begin to collect outside Washington State Patrol District 7 Headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Police: Lynnwood man consumed cannabis, beer before crash into trooper

Trooper Chris Gadd, 27, was stopped along I-5 when he was hit and killed early Saturday. Troopers suspect Raul Benitez Santana was impaired.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

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.