Kingsport leaders poised to ban fireworks

Matthew Lane • Jul 12, 2011 at 2:15 AM

KINGSPORT — If you’re going to shoot off fireworks in the Model City, you’d better hurry up because next week the Board of Mayor and Aldermen may be banning the sale and use of fireworks in the city limits.

Because of all the calls and e-mails complaining about fireworks being shot off in the early morning hours of the July 4th weekend, Mayor Dennis Phillips on Tuesday said he asked City Attorney Mike Billingsley to draft an ordinance calling for the ban of fireworks sale and use in the city limits.

Phillips noted the ban would not include professional fireworks displays such as those during Fun Fest or Independence Day.

The ordinance will be considered by the BMA during its regular meeting July 19th. Phillips said he would be available at city hall beginning at 3:30 p.m. on July 18 — one hour before the BMA’s regularly scheduled worksession — to hear from people who are opposed to a fireworks ban.

"The citizens have spoken loudly and I don’t think we’d be doing our job if we didn’t listen," Phillips said.

Fireworks sales in Kingsport and Sullivan County took off this year following action taken by the Sullivan County Commission last year that repealed a 57-year-old law banning the sale, possession and use of fireworks in Sullivan County. Because Kingsport did not have a separate law on the books banning fireworks, the county repeal opened the door for fireworks in the Model City.

And fireworks enthusiasts have been busy.

The Kingsport Police Depart ment received more than 200 complaints during the July 4th holiday weekend and 50 to 60 more since then, according to Deputy Chief David Quillin. Phillips said he received more calls and emails about this issue than any other, personally over 500 complaints, including four at his home Monday night.

"It seems some of our citizens aren’t disciplined enough to handle fireworks. I was hoping that after (July 4th) it would slow down, there would be some cooling off period, but fireworks continue in the early hours of the morning," Phillips said.

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