Vote on fireworks limits in Clark County all about location

Stuart says he'll look at results by precinct before any proposals

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

As of last count, slightly more than 60 percent of Clark County voters said they want county commissioners to limit fireworks sales and use. But even with that wide a majority, Clark County commissioners still have some math to do.

Commissioners regulate civil code only within the unincorporated area of the county, yet all county residents — including folks living within city limits — got a say on how they want the county to regulate fireworks usage. Because of that, Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart says he'll check the numbers precinct-by-precinct within the unincorporated area before proposing any changes to county policy.

"My preliminary look says it still passed," said Stuart, a Democrat. "But we will still get the numbers before we talk (policy)."

The advisory vote asked if the commissioners should enact a local ordinance in the county that limits the sale of fireworks to July 2, 3 and 4 while also limiting the use to July 4.

Once the precinct-by-precinct results are broken out, Stuart said he will also share the results with the cities in the region. That will give the county's small cities a chance to consider fireworks laws based on the will of the voters. It's also likely to reaffirm the move Vancouver's council made to limit fireworks, which begin in 2014, and are identical to the changes proposed by the county.

In the lead-up to the election, those supporting fireworks limitations said changes would reduce fire danger while also limiting noise and light pollution.

The counting

Opponents to the changes said such a change would hurt local businesses and nonprofits that rely on fireworks sales.

As of Friday's count 87,374 voters cast a ballot on the fireworks issue. Of them, 52,784 voted in favor of limiting fireworks. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said some 1,500 ballots are still to be counted on Tuesday afternoon.

Of the six advisory votes that commissioners placed on the November ballot, the only one commissioners have definitive policy control over is the use and sale of fireworks.

The commissioners don't have sole control over light-rail projects or bus rapid transit systems, but two of the advisory votes asked if voters would like to see a vote on each of the projects.

And while three votes asked citizens for their opinions on what bridges should span the Columbia River, the commissioners don't have any authority over a state-to-state infrastructure project spanning a federal waterway.

Still, the results of all six votes are likely to be discussed at Wednesday's board time discussion among commissioners.