FAIRFIELD — A town ordinance that would have restricted fireworks usage to 19 days of the year failed to pass Wednesday night during a Town Council meeting.

“The ordinance we currently have, which is essentially no restrictions, stands,” Chairman Edward Finch said after a vote in which Councilor Robert Sezak cast the lone vote in favor. Councilor Tom Munson abstained from the vote, while Finch, Harold Murray and Donald Giroux voted against the proposal.

“We’re in a situation where some of us are opposed because it’s too restrictive on others are opposed because it’s not restrictive enough,” Finch said.

The measure would have amended the town’s Public Safety Ordinance to restrict firework usage to 19 days of the year, including Memorial Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and periods surrounding Labor Day and the Fourth of July.

It was drafted by a work group that included Town Manager Josh Reny, police Chief John Emery and fire Chief Duane Bickford.

A handful of people expressed differing points of view during a public hearing before the vote.

Supporters of fireworks said that a restriction to 19 days wouldn’t allow for the celebration of birthdays; while opponents said three or four, rather than 19, days of legal fireworks would be more reasonable.

Speakers from both sides advocated for a compromise that would allow fireworks in more rural areas but would eliminate fireworks from the more densely populated “urban compact” in Fairfield’s downtown.

“There’s a rural Fairfield and there’s an urban Fairfield,” fireworks supporter Jeff Zimba said. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Band-Aid that’s going to fix the issue.”

Reny said it would be difficult to define the areas in such a compromise.

“Even outside the urban compact, there are areas where there’s housing that’s very close. Is that rural? Is it urban? What is it?” he said.

Reny said one portion of the ordinance that is often overlooked is the enforcement clause. He noted that the first offense would result in a warning and suggested that fireworks set off in remote areas were unlikely to generate a complaint that would lead to enforcement action.

Giroux said he favored fewer than 19 days, while Murray opposed limiting the number of days at all.

Before the vote was taken, Murray suggested that councilors might be able to draft a measure that would gain the support of a majority of members during its next workshop session.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.