Sorrento Council discusses fireworks, sidewalks

Halen Doughty
"Teach your family the firework code."

The Sorrento Town Council discussed the possibility of banning fireworks in the town, as well as potential new sidewalks, at the meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Mike Lambert noted fireworks are currently permitted for five days throughout the year. Those days are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and the Fourth of July. However, he said he's gotten complaints about how late people have been shooting fireworks during those holidays.

Fireworks were previously banned inside the city limits. Lambert said when he was serving as fire chief, the ordinance was changed to allow them on designated nights. He noted that he was opposed to it then, and he is still opposed to it now. He said to this day local firefighters respond to one fireworks-related call a year on average, either for a fire or injury.

Lambert pointed out that both Gonzales and Donaldsonville ban fireworks within the city limits, and fireworks are banned throughout East Baton Rouge Parish as a whole.

Councilwoman Patti Poche said she doesn't see how banning fireworks would solve the problem, as some people would likely shoot them anyway.

"People are going to get them and pop them regardless. They're going to do it illegally or legally," said Poche. "And I'd rather see people at home popping their fireworks than being out on the road, like New Year's Eve, when there's a lot of people drinking."

Councilwoman Randi Sutton echoed those sentiments saying law enforcement would have to respond when people use fireworks. But Lambert argued it's easier to enforce it once the ordinance is on the books.

"That's the easy part. Especially in Sorrento as close as we are, you know where they're popping fireworks," said Lambert.

Poche noted that a petition proved residents wanted to allow fireworks which is why the ordinance was changed, but Lambert said those opinions could have changed over the years. After much discussion, the issue was tabled for the next meeting.

Sidewalks were another key agenda item. The State Department of Transportation has offered to construct sidewalks along Highways 70 and 22 as part of the project already approved. The DOTD had said the sidewalks could be added as part of the project at no cost to the town.

Council members raised questions about acquiring servitude for the sidewalks and whether or not that could lead to unforeseen expenses for the municipality. Members agreed more information is needed before a decision can be made. The issue was put back on the agenda for the next meeting.

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