By Sterling McGinn
The Pentland Township board is considering implementing applications and ordinances to regulate public fireworks displays.
The topic was discussed at the July meeting of the township board held on Tuesday, July 11.
“We got some options on how to proceed in the future,” said Clerk Greg Rathje, who had been in contact with the township attorney. “Do we want to do nothing? Do we want to create a resolution, or pass an ordinance that sets a deadline spelling out what we are looking for before we consider it?”
The conversation was sparked by the Newberry fireworks display hosted by the Newberry Fireworks Association at Schubach Farms on July 1.
The association filed an application for the Newberry fireworks just days before the event, Rathje said.
“When they applied, they had commercial fireworks,” he said. The organization switched to using consumer type fireworks a couple of days before. The township was unaware why the professional handler backed out.
“The law requires [the board] to judge the permit and requires us to evaluate the competency of the people doing it,” Rathje said.
“They are supposed to provide their insurance, which covers their event on their property,” said Trustee Marty Lehto. “But if we okay it as a board, I’m sure we will have some kind of responsibility.”
There was no board action that evening, but supervisor Janet Maki will consult with other townships regarding fireworks, and Rathje will also look into the matter for future meetings.
In other news, Rathje updated the board on the June 30 hearing revolving around the Pentland vs. Newberry sewer litigation.
“The village filed several motions to dismiss parts of out lawsuit,” Rathje said. “The judge granted some of those items, however, they were items we didn’t mind if they dismiss. But the heart of our case, he declined to dismiss. The idea of the township bill being based on proportionality is a responsible thing to do under the law.”
In the meantime, the judge is requiring both sides to go back to mediation and has set a deadline for four months. The parties have two weeks to find a mediator.