Approximately a month ago there was a discussion on a local Plymouth Township-focused Facebook group about recreational fireworks. Someone was setting them off and someone nearby wasn’t happy. This is a common discussion on local neighborhood Facebook groups.
In 2017, Pennsylvania changed its fireworks law to allow for the purchase of items like Roman candles and bottle rockets. A set of regulations were also established and many municipalities followed by enacting their own ordinances to mimic the state regulations.
One regulation that makes the legal setting off of fireworks difficult in this area is that there is a prohibition against setting fireworks off within 150 feet of an occupied structure (whether it is currently occupied or not). Even if you can find such a spot, you have to have permission from the property owner. That is hard to come by in Plymouth Township.
It is likely that every time you have heard fireworks that were not part of a professional show for a holiday or wedding at a country club, the fireworks were being set off illegally.
We can no longer find the original conversation in that Facebook group, but Plymouth Township Council Member Karen Bramblet stated something that in our view put the emphasis on enforcement on the state (when she in fact had previously posted about the municipal level regulations that she voted for in 2018). She also mentioned something akin to how fireworks created a lot of work for the police.
So we were curious. There are local regulations and police are tasked with dealing with them on an ongoing basis.
Is anyone getting a citation or even a written warning?
The answer is no.
MoreThanTheCurve.com filed a right-to-know with Plymouth Township that asked for any citations or written warnings that had been issued since 2018 (when the local regulations were adopted).
The township answered the right-to-know with a letter stating it would need to take the allowable 30-day extension to provide the documents. On February 1st, we received the response that the documents do not exist.
We asked the police department for a statement involving how it views and enforces the regulations involving fireworks. We did not receive a reply.
We wondered if copies of any citations or written warnings for juveniles would have been excluded from the right-to-know request. It is not uncommon to receive a redacted public record through a right-to-know request. We didn’t receive back a response from the police department when we inquired on this issue.
Don’t start complaining that we are against fireworks. We don’t mind them. We hear them all summer. But there are people with PSTD and pets that are impacted negatively. We do not just cover things we feel need to be addressed. We look for what the public is talking about and try to get them more information and answers.