Conway police chief considers change to fireworks ordinance in response to Fourth of July noise complaints

Conway police chief considers change to fireworks ordinance in response to Fourth of July noise complaints

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - If you celebrated the Fourth of July in Conway by setting off fireworks you might not be able to spend Independence Day the same way next year.

A number of calls regarding noise complaints from fireworks on the Fourth influenced an idea by Conway Police Chief Reggie Gosnell to change the current ordinance.

City Council members said people reached out to them as well about the problem. So when the chief brought the issue to their attention, it came as no surprise.

Right now, if you live in the city limits you're allowed to shoot your own fireworks on the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve up until 12:30 a.m.

While Chief Gosnell could not provide the exact number of complaints, he said the department received more calls than ever, mostly between 10 p.m. and midnight, before that 12:30 a.m. cut-off time.

When it comes to revising the city's fireworks restrictions, council members said they're leaving it up for Chief Gosnell to decide.

Right now, Gosnell said he is considering a change to the time fireworks are allowed, making it consistent with the current noise ordinance at 10 at night.

There are two other options: ban fireworks within city limits, or save them only for special events. No matter what the outcome, some people who live in Conway don't think it will make a difference.

"I think the best option would be to put a time limit on it.  Unfortunately, I don't think people would follow the rules, regardless of what it is, especially around the Fourth of July holiday," said Melanie Custon, a Conway resident.

WMBF News went out to see how people who live in Conway feel about the potential change. People believe no restrictions, or even a ban, will stop people from shooting fireworks. They agree, fireworks are a family tradition so they'd rather not see any restrictions.

Some say banning fireworks would be the wrong thing to do to those who are responsible with them and follow the current laws. They also question the idea because of all the stores that sell them in our area.

But there are some who believe fireworks going off after hours is a disruption when you have to be at work or kids have to go to school, they say it even affects their pets.

"One of the perks of living in Conway is your away from the tourists so I think Conway feels like we shouldn't really have to deal with our lives being disturbed," Custon said.

Although the complaints came from fireworks being shot during the 4th of July holiday, if the ordinance changes the same rules will also apply to New Year's Eve.

In order to change an ordinance, the proposal needs to go to city council and through a public meeting.

The chief is going to make his recommendations Aug. 7.

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