City Council approves permit exemptions for fireworks show sponsors

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego City Council Monday gave tentative approval to municipal code changes to exempt private sponsors of fireworks shows on city-owned property from having to apply for special permits.

Environmentalists challenged the move during the public comment period, arguing that debris from fireworks that falls into water can be harmful to marine life.

The city is a co-defendant in a lawsuit filed by environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez over a July 4 fireworks display at La Jolla Cove, which is near a protected marine sanctuary.

The opponents said they were not against fireworks shows, but want changes in how they are presented.

According to the City Attorney's Office, officials with the Parks and Recreation staff for years have only checked to make sure the number of people expected at a fireworks event fits the size of the property, so the changes only bring the municipal code in line with current practice.

Traffic and environmental issues were not at stake for the operators of the shows, as far as the city was concerned, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.

Those who put the shows on might have separate environmental obligations, Goldsmith said.

The code change affects privately run shows where food and alcohol are not served, unless they take place at certain exempted locations like Petco Park where food and alcohol sales already take place.

The code changes will be brought back for a second reading at a future City Council meeting.

Categories: KUSI