Enough is enough when it comes to powerful, noisy fireworks in Fayette County, Urban County Council members say.
After council's work session Tuesday, members are poised to ban the sale, possession or use of aerial fireworks that have been legal in Lexington for the last two Fourth of July celebrations.
Under the law, so-called novelty fireworks such as fountains, sparklers and smoke bombs would still be legal. The law would not affect large fireworks displays at events such as the city's Fourth of July celebration or Lexington Legends baseball games.
Violators of the proposed ban would pay stiff fines.
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The penalty for illegally buying or denoting disallowed fireworks would be $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second and $1,000 for a third. Companies caught selling fireworks would be fined $2,000 and face six months of jail time.
Council will give first reading to the proposed ban at Thursday night's council meeting.
"Basically, this takes us back to what we had before the state law was changed," council member Diane Lawless said.
In 2011, the Kentucky legislature made aerial fireworks such as bottle rockets legal in Kentucky for general use. The state law allowed local governments to regulate the sale and use of fireworks, or opt out entirely by banning them.
In Lexington on the first Fourth of July after the law changed, people set off fireworks into the wee hours of the morning. In the face of a barrage of complaints, council imposed limits on hours and locations when fireworks could be used.
Fireworks can be set off any day of the year between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. except for new Year's Eve, July 3, July 4 and Memorial Day, when the deadline is midnight. State law and the Lexington ordinance dictate that fireworks cannot be ignited within 200 feet of a building, vehicle or person.
This Fourth of July, complaints to council members and 911 calls escalated. At the first council meeting after the Fourth, Tom Blues said he wanted the council's Public Safety Committee to explore a ban.
Commissioner of Public Safety Clay Mason told committee members that five years ago, 911 received 301 calls to report violations, but more than 2,000 calls were received this year.