Fireworks would be subjected to city noise ordinances under a bill that Sandy Springs is formally supporting.
The state controversially legalized the sale and use of fireworks in 2015 with few limits on their use, regardless of the noise and fire safety differences between rural, urban and suburban areas. Sponsored by state Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), House Bill 419 aims to cut back on the noise issues by subjecting fireworks to local ordinances, except on Jan. 1 and July 4. The bill also would allow the governor to restrict fireworks use further during drought conditions.
The bill passed the House earlier this year and is now awaiting a Senate review. On Dec. 5, the Sandy Springs City Council passed a resolution urging the Senate to pass the bill.
Mayor Rusty Paul called fireworks noise “an issue we are bedeviled by.” As a boy in rural Alabama, he said, “I could set off dynamite in my back yard and no one would know it,” but in Sandy Springs, people live “cheek by jowl” and fireworks set “25 dogs barking,” among other effects.
Paul added that his son and his friends make their own fireworks, and “we want him as far away from civilization as possible when he is exercising his freedom.”
Councilmember Andy Bauman noted it is a “pet-friendly council” concerned with how fireworks noise can terrify animals. And Councilmember John Paulson, who heads the Phoenix Patriot Foundation veterans organization, said fireworks can be “pretty disturbing” to combat vets.