The Orange County Board of Commissioners moved to adopt an ordinance further regulating the large-scale display of pyrotechnics in Orange County during Tuesday’s meeting.
The new ordinance will require residents who obtain a permit for displaying large-scale fireworks to give notices to residents within 1,000 ft. of the display, which was not formerly required.
“The state law currently allows counties to permit displays of fireworks of this type,” County Attorney John Roberts said.
Roberts said the state allows the county to make further provisions for regulation of pyrotechnics, such as the formation of a permitting process or the requirement of pyrotechnic operators to acquire insurance for the event.
“If an operator comes in and doesn’t get a permit, a fire marshal can come out and put a stop to the event,” he said.
Orange County has received numerous complaints about the noise from fireworks, especially in rural areas.
The specific incident that sparked these complaints was a wedding where over $8,000 of fireworks were set off, Orange County Fire Marshal Jason Shepherd said.
Orange County resident Virginia Leslie said she and her animals were frightened and concerned by the loud noises the pyrotechnics were giving off.
“Pyrotechnics have no place in the community ever,” Leslie said.
The state does not allow the complete ban of pyrotechnics by an individual county.
“This is an additional regulation given the limited power that the county has to regulate pyro-displays at all," Commissioner Mark Dorosin said. "It would provide residents with notice — something that is not required now."
The motion to adopt the large-scale display of pyrotechnics ordinance passed six to one with Commissioner Renee Price dissenting.
The board also approved the composition of the Orange County Firearms Safety Committee.
The committee is to be comprised of six to eight residents, a select number of technical staff consisting of government officials and a commissioner to act as a facilitator for the committee. The exact number of people to be on the committee is not yet determined.
“The facilitator would be keeping the folks on track so that we don’t get a recommendation that has no chance of approval,” Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier said about having a commissioner act as a facilitator.
While the Orange County Firearms Safety Committee has not been formed yet, many residents are worried about the committee’s actions infringing on their second amendment rights. Grassroots North Carolina representative and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner candidate Andy Stevens said Grassroots N.C. is willing to file litigation against the county for allegedly not being in compliance with the state law.
“State law regarding firearms possession has changed twice in the last three years and your existing Orange County ordinance on this matter has not,” Stevens said. Stevens said signs prohibiting firearms in parks need to be taken down and that Grassroots N.C. will sue the county if they do not comply.
“Consider the panic of the elderly, or veterans with PTSD,” Leslie said, regarding loud pyrotechnic displays in the community.
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