The Van Meter City Council met in its regular monthly session on Thursday, June 15 at the Veterans Reception Center. The Council took action on an ordinance, waiving the second and third readings, clarifying the law on the use of fireworks.
The use of fireworks will be legal in the City of Van Meter as is condoned in the recently passed fireworks law by the Iowa Legislature earlier this year, but with one restriction added. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase or use fireworks without adult supervision, while the state law says only that anyone under the age of 18 cannot purchase them.
Van Meter Public Safety Director, Bill Daggett, said that he wanted the age restriction in the ordinance to “stop the running bottle rocket wars” between teenagers.
“It’s just an easy way for me to tell 15- and 16-year-olds ‘no, you can’t be doing that because you don’t have adults around,’” Daggett said. “Other than that, we’ve shot fireworks in Iowa illegally for years… I’ve never understood the hubbub.”
This means that, as long as someone is on their own property, or has permission of the property owner, they can shoot off fireworks in the City of Van Meter between June 1 and July 8 of this year, as well as between Dec. 10 and Jan. 3.
Use shall also be limited to between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. with few exceptions. Fireworks will be allowed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 4 as well as on the Saturdays and Sundays immediately following and preceding. Fireworks will also be legal from 9 a.m. on Dec. 31 until 12:30 a.m. the following day.
It is also legal to sell fireworks in the City of Van Meter between June 1 and July 8, with no additional restrictions on zoning or pop-up tents as long as they have the proper permits from the State Fire Marshall and from the City of Van Meter.
Those applying for a permit to sell in Van Meter would need to pay a fee, which would be set at a later meeting by resolution, according to Van Meter City Attorney, Erik Fisk.
Also prohibited by the new ordinance in Van Meter is the use of “display fireworks,” without a permit from the city. The State Code describes “display fireworks” as anything “prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation.”
First-class and second-class consumer fireworks are permitted under the ordinance.
First-class consumer fireworks, as defined in the State Code, include aerial shell kits and reloadable tubes, chasers, helicopter and aerial spinners, firecrackers, mine and shell devices, missile-type rockets, roman candles, sky rockets and bottle rockets.
Second-class consumer fireworks include cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground and hand-held sparkling devices, ground spinners, illuminating torches, toy smoke devices not classified as novelties, wheels and wire or dipped sparklers that are not classified as novelties.
Citing conversations at MAC meetings, councilwoman Kim Sacker, said that there is a difference in the way bigger cities and smaller cities are handling the fireworks law.
“It seems like all the bigger cities are just trying to squelch, squelch, squelch, and the smaller cities seem okay to let it ride, to let it go,” Sacker said.
“I feel comfortable with them (fireworks).”