Saturday, August 12, 2017 1:00 am
Protection for all seasons
Here this season, gone the next. Christmas, Halloween and fireworks stores are inherently harder to regulate than businesses in permanent locations. Last week, the Allen County commissioners made some changes in building rules that should help ensure seasonal stores are operated safely.
County Building Commissioner John Caywood told The Journal Gazette's Rosa Salter Rodriguez the impetus for the changes came when a state fireworks group complained that the county's ordinance regulating fireworks stores was invalid. State law forbids localities from regulating such sales, according to the group.
This is not a surprise, as long-suffering victims of the state restrictions on local limits on neighbors' firework displays will tell you. Probably we should consider ourselves lucky the legislature hasn't yet passed a “Right to Pursue Pyrotechnics in Your Back Yard” constitutional amendment.
But the new county rules aren't aimed at fireworks stores in particular. They cover all temporary stores, which often are altered to accommodate seasonal merchandise. Such stores will have to be inspected for building-code violations before receiving a certificate of occupancy. The certificates must be renewed within 30 days; violations could mean fines of up to $500 a day.
Those standards are designed to protect shoppers and employees alike. Just because Christmas-tree ornaments or Halloween masks or Fourth of July sparklers have a limited shelf life is no excuse for not seeing that essential building-safety rules are followed.