ENOCH CITY – Extremely dry conditions this summer prompted the Enoch City Council Friday night to restrict the use of fireworks this 4th of July to two designated areas.
The council passed an ordinance to restrict fireworks to the city offices parking lot located at 900 E. Midvalley Road and Enoch Elementary on Tomahawk Drive – effective immediately.
“Due to extreme hazardous fire conditions throughout Enoch City and surrounding area, the discharge of any and all fireworks including class C common fireworks is prohibited everywhere within the boundaries of Enoch City except …” the ordinance states.
The council has asked the police department to enforce the ordinance citing anyone found setting off fireworks outside of the designated areas. Violation of the ordinance is a class B misdemeanor.
Read more: Fireworks restrictions for southwest Utah
While a local online Facebook group generated debate this last week among residents calling for the council and the mayor to restrict fireworks entirely, only one Enoch resident, Brody Johnson, came out to the special meeting.
Despite the restrictions put in place by the council, Johnson wasn’t happy with the decision arguing that fireworks should be banned altogether. He expressed concern for his own home located next to the school and threatened to hold the council responsible if his property was damaged.
Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut said he felt Johnson was being unreasonable. The mayor explained that under Utah state code, municipalities are not allowed to ban fireworks except in certain areas.
“We have no power to ban this stuff and no authority to stop them and they (residents) go out and exercise their freedom and it ends up harming someone,” Chestnut said. “So how are we responsible for that when we don’t have the power to stop that?”
Also concerned about unsupervised children lighting off fireworks, Johnson asked who was going to be responsible for them.
“I understand the city doesn’t have the power to ban fireworks and that’s great, maybe that’s something as a citizen I can go to my legislator and say, ‘please give our local communities the power to change that,’” Johnson said. “But until then, you should take all due precautions. I get where you’re coming from, you shouldn’t be responsible, but who’s going to be out there making sure mom and dad are watching these kids, the police? Is that their job?”
Chestnut fired back by asking whether it’s the government’s job to watch the children.
“How do we stop someone before they do something?” the mayor asked.
Johnson questioned whether the council could restrict the fireworks to one location, preferably the city offices, rather than two but the council decided it would be more dangerous to have all the residents confined to one area.
The issue of water pressure also arose with Johnson asking whether the city has enough to fight fires. Chestnut acknowledged that it is a concern, which is why the city recently restricted water use to bring the water to safer levels.
After much debate, Johnson said he was still concerned but that he understood.
“It would be nice if there was no fireworks,” Johnson said. “I’m surprised the state took that right away from the cities. It is what it is. It would be nice, maybe someday somebody will just stand up and say ‘I don’t care what the state says, we’re going to do this.’ The states do it all the time to the federal government and nothing happens to them.”
Christmas and New Year’s Eve would be better choices for fireworks, he added.
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