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Commission doesn’t vote on fireworks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 01 March 2017 20:33

But a public hearing on an ordinance change that could allow a fireworks store set for March 13

The Village of Belgium’s Plan Commission didn’t vote Monday on  an ordinance change that could pave the way to allow a fireworks store.

The commission cited safety as one issue it had with Tom and Freddy Gill’s proposal to put a fireworks store in the former cheese store.

The commission did not see the store as bringing value to the village, Village Clerk Julie Lesar said.

The request for the fireworks shop is backed by what the Gills are hearing from their customers, attorney Ed Ritger of Random Lake, who represents the Gills, told the commission last month.

“They get a lot of requests. People are heading north and look to buy fireworks,” Ritger said.

Belgium’s ordinance does not allow fireworks to be stored in the village. That ordinance would have to be changed, and the Gills would need a conditional use permit to operate the store.

“Obviously, you don’t want anything that’s going to be a problem for your community, and we respect that,” Ritger told the commission last month.

Commission members had expressed skepticism about allowing a fireworks store at last month’s meeting.

Don Gotcher asked what kind of fireworks would be sold. Freddy Gill said they would sell items typically used in Fourth of July celebrations, “nothing too big.”

Ritger said the fireworks would be for personal use, not professional-grade pyrotechnics like those set off at Fish Day or other festivals.

Whether the store would be opened all year is something the Gills are still debating. They said they would lease the store to a fireworks distributor such as Uncle Sam’s.

Gotcher asked about a sprinkler and security system. Freddy Gill said the system that the former McDonald’s had before it became a cheese store would remain.

Gill said fast food restaurants have nearly the same fire safety requirements as fireworks stores.

The store at 117 S. Royal Ave. would meet the setback requirement of 50 feet from gas pumps at Mobil. The door is 65 feet away from the nearest pump.

On Monday, Gill told the commission he is willing to put up another building to house the store, if the commission isn’t comfortable with the proposed location, Lesar said.

Even though the commission didn’t vote on the ordinance change, a public hearing on the matter will be held in accordance with state statute, Lesar said. The hearing is at 6:45 p.m. Monday, March 13, before the Village Board meeting at 7 p.m.

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