Yesterday the Kent City Council passed an ordinance to ban the possession, sale or use of consumer fireworks year-round within the city, starting in February 2017. The ban cannot go into effect any sooner, based on how the state law is written. A one-year waiting period is required.

Public fireworks displays like those at Lake Meridian Park on July 4 will still be allowed as long as the presenters obtain appropriate permits.

Councilmember Jim Berrios, chair of the city’s Public Safety Committee, thanked the councilmembers for passing the measure after an emotional process.

“We asked the community to tell us ‘what they think,’ and they sent us a resounding message – one we’ve heard time after time over the last year and a half. We’ve acted accordingly,” Berrios said.

Berrios acknowledged that a ban won’t solve all the city’s fireworks problems.

“With fireworks being sold in areas around Kent, we know we’ll still have some challenges. But now our police will have no question whether fireworks are legal or not. They’ll have the ability to confiscate any fireworks they come across.”

Most violations including possession, unlawful discharge, failing to clean up firework litter, or a property owner who permits the use of fireworks will constitute a civil infraction punishable by monetary fines. In lieu of paying fines, community service may also be available to those who commit an infraction, including children under age 16.

Major violations, such as reckless discharge, untruthfulness in obtaining a public display permit, or improperly storing an excessive amount of fireworks, will constitute a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or by a fine of up to $5,000, or both.


Dana Neuts

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