Now that fireworks are legal in Georgia, Hall County is moving to prohibit shooting them off in local parks.
The Board of Commissioners will vote Thursday night on the new ordinance. The meeting is 6 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.
Fireworks can now be sold from brick-and-mortar stores following the passage of a state law this year, but local governments retain the power to regulate where they can be sold through zoning ordinances.
Before the new law, only fireworks like sparklers, snappers and other items that do not launch or explode could be sold in the state.
The new law, however, has proved confusing for some, and state lawmakers have indicated they may revisit the legislation in 2016.
Gainesville officials will hold a public hearing next week to restrict where fireworks can be sold in the city.
But the proposal does come with some exceptions for large retailers and other businesses that sell fireworks in addition to general goods.
The proposed code change only applies to retailers primarily selling large “consumer” fireworks, such as bottle rockets, Roman candles or black cats.
These sellers would be restricted to operating in neighborhoods zoned for light industrial uses. No current shops would be required to shut down or relocate.
The code change would not prevent major commercial retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Kroger in Gainesville, from continuing to sell large fireworks because most of their business comes from other sales.
The state law currently restricts lighting fireworks between midnight and 10 a.m., except on certain holidays when the curfew is 2 a.m.
But some residents of Hall County have expressed anger about fireworks cracking at late hours.
Rep. Emory Dunahoo said he’s gotten several emails from constituents complaining about the state now allowing the sale of fireworks and hearing explosions in the middle of the night.
“There’s a lot of people in the neighborhood saying we’re having problems in the cul-de-sac,” he added. “I told them to call the police.”
Dunahoo said that he’s open to considering changes to the law, but believes parents need to be more responsible.
“It’s about parents being parents” and making sure they don’t encourage kids to be unruly with fireworks, or participate themselves, he added.
While it would defeat the point of the state law to place more restrictions on when fireworks can be set off on holidays like New Year’s or Independence Day, Dunahoo said common sense should prevail the rest of the year.
“I don’t have a problem if (lawmakers) come back and revisit it,” Dunahoo said. “We will discuss that, I’m sure.”