(The Center Square) – Iowa cities and counties can no longer restrict where fireworks are sold to consumers under a bill Gov. Kim Reynolds signed last week.
The bill, SF2285, passed the Senate 31-17 and the House 56-37 on party-line votes in March.
State Senator Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to limit the application of the law to cities with fewer than 20,000 residents.
State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, D-Windsor Heights, in the debate on March 30, supported the amendment and recalled a July 6, 2021, incident in which a fireworks container caught fire in Clive, prompting police and fire crews to shut down a nearby intersection as the situation stabilized. She said local units of government, whose police and fire agencies will have to respond to such incidents, should retain authority over locations of sales.
In 2017, through SF489, Iowa legalized the sale of fireworks, allowed local communities to decide whether they wanted to ban fireworks from being set off, and permitted fireworks sales to adults around the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.
Some Iowa cities had restricted the sales to certain zoning districts following citizen complaints and increased reports of injuries, banning displays and fining violators hundreds of dollars, and limiting when residents could set off fireworks, The Gazette reported.
State Senator Mike Klimesh, R-Spillville, who was mayor of Spillville for 22 years, said cities trying to use spot zoning are violating the spirit of the law, The Gazette reported.
Under the bill Reynolds signed Thursday, municipalities also make more accommodations for farmers when increasing zoning jurisdictions into unincorporated areas.
Cities, which must expand their planning and zoning commission and board of adjustments each by two members during these times, must try to have at least one of those two more members be agricultural landowners. Exceptions are made when that effort takes more than six months.
Cities can request but cannot require property owners affected by zoning regulations to consent to annexation to receive approval for zoning classifications, special or conditional use, variances, permits, or division of land into tracts.
The law takes effect immediately.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety has posted a 2022 map of licensed consumer fireworks sites and training videos for vendors on its website. The department says that the state allows online sales – with the physical pickup of purchases at licensed vendors – and curbside service – beyond 10 feet from facilities – of fireworks.
Beginning May 1, local fire protection service and emergency medical service providers can apply for grants to educate the public on fireworks laws, local ordinances regarding fireworks, and fireworks safety and injury prevention. Consumer fireworks fees fund the grants, following expenditures on enforcing state laws on consumer fireworks sellers licensing and wholesaler registration.