Millsboro pursuing town code update pertaining to fireworks

MILLSBORO – Fireworks will explode in the dark heavens above Millsboro Pond and Cupola Park at the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce’s Stars & Stripes event the evening of Saturday, June 30.

Town of Millsboro leaders are now seeking to light the pyrotechnic fuse for town code compliance.

Fireworks explode over Millsboro Pond at last year’s Stars & Stripes event.

“You just need to do a little housekeeping here and clean it up because you now have a fireworks event in town,” said attorney Mary Schrider Fox, Millsboro’s town solicitor at the March 5 council meeting. “What we think we need to do is revise the ordinance.”

This revelation comes with recent discovery that current town code – Chapter 105-1 – states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge firearms, fireworks, air guns, slingshots, bows and/or crossbows within the corporate limits of the town of Millsboro.”

“It’s really housekeeping, because they had the show last year,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “I happened to be going through the code and thought, ‘We probably need to clean this up so everybody is in compliance.’”

Mayor and council at its March 5 meeting discussed an ordinance update.

Ms. Schrider Fox offered possible limitations/restrictions council might wish to consider.

“Like do you want to say only public displays of fireworks to be held around the Fourth of July time period, so that you don’t have too many requests throughout the year?” said Ms. Schrider Fox.  “Do you want to say that it must be sponsored by the town or by a civic organization that is approved by the town? That would stop random people coming in, like me, saying, ‘I’d like to have a fireworks permit’ of some sort.”

“I think town-sponsored sounds like a reasonable way to go with that,” councilman Tim Hodges said.

“You have to remember, the town contributed monetarily to last year’s fireworks event. The town wasn’t actually the sponsor, is that correct?” said Ms. Schrider Fox. “Some of that is for liability purposes. The chamber was the technical sponsor.”

“How about town sanctioned/town approved?” said Mr. Hodges.

Council’s consensus was draft ordinance language should include fireworks for public display only, and it must be town approved with insurance certification.

Per Delaware State Fire Marshal Office mandates, any fireworks show requires approval in terms of suitable, safe location, size of the pyrotechnic shells and duration of the show, said councilman Larry Gum.

Ms. Schrider Fox plans to have a revised draft for town council’s consideration for April’s monthly council meeting.

Last year’s spectacular fireworks show was professionally staged by Brothers Pyro of Greenwood. Fireworks were launched from a pontoon-type barge on Millsboro Pond just north of the SR 24 John J. Williams Highway Bridge.

The chamber-sponsored event drew thousands of spectators and was hailed a huge success.

This year’s Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration fireworks extravaganza on June 30 will run from 6 p.m. to the conclusion of the fireworks show. Activities and vendors are planned at Cupola Park leading up to the fireworks.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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