Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fireworks lovers petition Franklin

DATE: April 13, 2010
BY: Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN •
DETAILS: FRANKLIN — Around 1,000 people believe Franklin residents should be allowed to set off their bottle rockets on the Fourth of July and firecrackers on New Year's Eve — for a few hours anyway.

Owners of La Vergne-based Mid-America Distributors Inc. fireworks company say they are in the midst of collecting signatures asking Franklin to change its laws that outlaw all fireworks.

Instead, Mid-America is proposing that Franklin residents have a few hours' window to allow fireworks on the two fireworks-intensive holidays.

"The more (signatures) we get, the better chance we have of turning this over," said Will Lloyd, Mid-America vice president.

So far, around 1,000 signatures have been collected. Lloyd hoped to have the petition completed in time to get aldermen to enact a change by next summer.

Whether a petition is enough to convince Franklin officials to loosen their regulations is doubtful. Franklin Fire officials have been longtime opponents of fireworks in the city for safety reasons.

A person reached at the Franklin Fire department said officials who could comment were out of town when this story went to press.

Despite Franklin's opposition, County Planning Commission members granted temporary-use permits recently for two Mid-America fireworks stands to operate for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

One stand will be located west of the McKay's Mill subdivision off Liberty Pike at 1050 John Williams Road; the second will be at the southwest corner of Henpeck Lane and Lewisburg Pike.

Safety reasons aside, the sale of fireworks less than 200 feet away from McKay's Mill gives the impression that fireworks are allowed in Franklin, city Fire Marshal Andy King said in a letter to commissioners.

No residents opposed the permits, and one resident said there were no problems with traffic or noise at the McKay's Mill stand.

"One of the closest neighbors to (the fireworks) is my Sunday School teacher, and he didn't hardly know the thing was back there," said John Williams Jr., whose father owns the farmland where the stand will be located.


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