Voters show county council their support for firework ban

Arlington could join list of cities with bans. Citywide proposition narrowly passing by 62 votes.

EVERETT — After a majority of Snohomish County voters showed support last week for a partial fireworks ban, it’s on the County Council to put one up for a vote.

Proposition 1 asked residents if they’d back a fireworks ban in certain areas of unincorporated Snohomish County. It was passing with 56.37% of the vote, as of Monday. The vote doesn’t change the law, but lets county leaders know what people think.

“What we’re seeing in the results is people have reached a tipping point where they’re tired of it and they want some peace and quiet,” South County Fire Commissioner Jim Kenny said.

Kenny said growing density in the county has exacerbated fireworks injuries and property damage, especially on the Fourth of July.

County Councilman Nate Nehring said he voted against Proposition 1, but will respect the results.

“It sounds like there’s a resounding vote to enforce the ban,” Nehring said Monday.

Those who argued against the ban say it’ll be difficult to enforce and people could turn to illegal fireworks.

Kenny said it’s not a perfect solution, but a step in the right direction.

As proposed, the ban wouldn’t affect cities where the council doesn’t have jurisdiction. Instead, it would apply to unincorporated urban growth areas, which are places that could someday be annexed into existing cities.

While every city across the county has some unincorporated growth area, most surround South County cities like Lynnwood, Mukilteo and Mill Creek.

Additionally, state law says any fireworks ban passed after an advisory vote must wait a year before being implemented.

Already, half of Snohomish County cities have banned fireworks, including Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, Brier and Gold Bar.

Arlington could soon join that list. As of Monday, a proposition to ban fireworks in the city is passing with 50.73% of the vote, a 66-ballot margin.

The countywide vote stems from a resolution passed by the County Council in July, after lobbying from South County Fire, which serves Lynnwood, Edmonds, Brier and Mountlake Terrace.

A vote on the fireworks ban could happen as soon as the election is certified Nov. 26, Nehring said. But it might get tabled until next year.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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