Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Tons of you have contacted our office and have inquired about fireworks rules, regulations, and ordinances. We've also received some complaints from homeowners asking us about the process for reporting their neighbors for too loud and too late activities.
While we don't get involved in personal matters, we've spoken to local authorities about the matter and we've put some info together to help everyone enjoy fireworks season a bit better.
One of the things people love about Edmonson County is that there is much freedom to individual property owners regarding what you can do on and with your property. Most of those freedoms are based on the idea that as long as it doesn't bother your neighbor, you're good to go.
However, there's always been sort of a gray area when it comes to noise, because there are no county ordinances regarding the subject. That sometimes makes it difficult for local officials to interpret and enforce. So what's the bottom line?
According to Sheriff Shane Doyle the key to keeping everyone happy this Independence Day week is to respect your neighbors.
"We ask you to have your fireworks finished up by 10pm," he said. "Most people will want to get started as soon as it gets dark, which is around 8:30-9pm. It's going to be very unlikely that someone has a reason to shoot fireworks for more than an hour."
He says most everyone works during the day and when 10pm comes around, folks are heading to bed or settling down for the night.
"Don't fire them into your neighbor's yard without permission and inform your neighbors of your intentions so they know what to expect."
He also said to have a hose handy in case of fire. "Thankfully, we've been getting rain consistently, so we don't have a huge threat of field or forest fires, but we still ask you to use common sense, courtesy, and safety measures."
Brownsville Mayor Jerry Meredith said there were no official city ordinances regarding fireworks, but said much of the same thing the sheriff said.
"Common sense is the key," he said. "We don't mind fireworks in the city as long as it's not too late and someone isn't going overboard."
Sheriff Doyle said his office will refer any incident to a disorderly conduct statute. "If an incident becomes a nuisance and it's unreasonable, we can arrest."
Doyle concluded his statements by referring back to common sense.
"Any fireworks going past 10pm will open the door for problems," he said. "Most people don't make any other loud rackets past 10pm and fireworks shouldn't be any different. Just respect others, be safe, and we'll all enjoy the holiday."