Marysville council votes to ban fireworks starting in 2017

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville City Council on Monday passed an ordinance that would ban possession, sale or use of fireworks within the city, starting January 2017.

The measure establishes fines for civil violations that range from $103 during the first year the ordinance up to $513 after two years.

In addition, selling fireworks, and setting off commercial-grade or dangerous fireworks, would be considered misdemeanors.

Due to the way state law is written, any local ordinance that is stricter than state law has a one-year waiting period before it becomes effective. The law is intended to protect people and businesses who purchase large amounts of fireworks in advance from having the figurative rug pulled out from under them at the last minute.

The measure is the latest step in a years-long process that has seen gradual tightening of the rules.

In November, an advisory measure asked voters whether the council should ban fireworks. The measure passed 59.25 percent to 40.75 percent, with 10,004 ballots cast.

That followed the hot and dry summer of 2015. Numerous brush fires were caused by fireworks.

But that didn’t make the decision any easier for the council members. The Mountain View Assembly of God Church sells fireworks — the church’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

The fireworks revenue will just leave the city, youth pastor Brandon Hart said. “Many people at Boom City will still be selling fireworks like crazy, but those that are trying to do it for a good reason are gone,” Hart said.

Many people testified about their neighborhoods becoming war zones several days in advance of and following July 4, even though the current city code restricts fireworks to Independence Day and New Year’s Eve.

Fireworks also are getting larger and louder, Marysville resident Robert Weiss said.

“At this point I don’t think anything short of an outright ban will have any effect,” Weiss said.

Councilman Jeff Vaughan said he was torn, because he agreed in part about the potential for danger.

“I love fireworks. I love shooting off fireworks,” Vaughan said. “I am scared to death to be away from my house on the Fourth of July.”

Nevertheless, Vaughan voted against the ban, along with Rob Toyer and Kamille Norton.

Councilman Stephen Muller, in supporting the ban, said that he’d lost a dog who ran away one Fourth of July. He also said that money issues — whether a church raises funds with them or people shop at Boom City on the Tulalip Indian Reservation — are beside the point.

“I used to leave town on the Fourth with my dog, but I can’t leave for three weeks,” Muller said. “It’s gotten out of control. It isn’t about the money; it’s about the quality of life.”

He acknowledged that a ban won’t solve all the city’s fireworks problems, but it would give the police the ability to enforce the most problematic incidents.

Vaughan also raised the prospect that an outright ban on possession would punish people in Marysville who buy fireworks elsewhere to set off outside the city if they happen to be caught with them in their car inside the city limits.

Police Chief Rick Smith said that enforcement would be focused on those who intend to shoot off fireworks within city limits.

“There’s the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. Certainly we’ll consider the spirit of the law in moving forward,” Smith said.

He added the ban on possession is necessary to give police the ability to confiscate any fireworks they come across, such as when people are setting them off and drinking.

Some people, as well as Vaughan, said the city might consider designating an area away from neighborhoods where people could set off small fireworks. That suggestion wasn’t taken up Monday, but could be revisited.

The Legislature also is considering amending state law to remove the one-year waiting period, but even if that occurred, the Marysville council would need to pass another ordinance amending the city code if they wanted to enact the ban earlier.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Driver arrested in fatal crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

The driver reportedly rear-ended Jeffrey Nissen as he slowed down for traffic. Nissen, 28, was ejected and died at the scene.

PAWS Veterinarian Bethany Groves in the new surgery room at the newest PAWS location on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Snohomish hospital makes ‘massive difference’ for wild animals

Lynnwood’s Progressive Animal Welfare Society will soon move animals to its state of the art, 25-acre facility.

Traffic builds up at the intersection of 152nd St NE and 51st Ave S on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how Marysville will look in 20 years

Marysville is updating its comprehensive plan and wants the public to weigh in on road project priorities.

Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyko Matsumoto-Wright on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
With light rail coming soon, Mountlake Terrace’s moment is nearly here

The anticipated arrival of the northern Link expansion is another sign of a rapidly changing city.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

Photographs in the 2024 Annual Black and White Photography Contest on display at the Schack Art Center on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Black and white photos aren’t old school for teens at Schack Art Center

The photography contest, in its 29th year, had over 170 entries. See it at the Schack in Everett through May 5.

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)
Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mountain Loop Highway partially reopens Friday

Closed since December, part of the route to some of the region’s best hikes remains closed due to construction.

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.