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Dade City banning fireworks

Without an ordinance, vendors skirting a county ban might come to Dade City, the fire chief says.

By CHASE SQUIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 14, 2000


DADE CITY -- After 18 months of drought and with Independence Day approaching, city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to ban the sale and use of fireworks in city limits, matching last week's move by the Pasco County Commission.

City fire Chief Bob Cabot told commissioners the fire danger in the area remains high, despite recent thunderstorms, and he worried that if Pasco County continued its ban on the sale of fireworks and Dade City did not have one, vendors might flock inside city limits to skirt the law.

"With the drought conditions, the potential for fire, obviously fireworks can be a great danger," Cabot said.

The chief said he continues to hear reports that Gov. Jeb Bush may enact a statewide ban, but the announcement may come so close to July that it could cause confusion or allow some vendors to begin sales, only to have them shut down.

Cabot said the city would not try to halt the July 4 Sparklebration fireworks display scheduled for the fairgrounds.

Because the city can enact its local emergency ordinance only in seven-day increments, commissioners agreed to meet briefly at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to revisit the ban, and if necessary carry it over to the following week when another regular commission meeting is scheduled.

The ban goes into effect immediately.

Neighboring Zephyrhills banned fireworks Monday night, and Saint Leo and San Antonio commissions both agreed at public meetings that the county ordinances would be in effect inside their municipalities as well.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners agreed to seek comments from local merchants and residents on a proposal circulating in east Pasco to swing a four-lane State Road 52 bypass south of the town of Saint Leo and connect it to Clinton Avenue.

The new route would split some of the traffic off the increasingly busy route and would smooth a dangerous curve between Saint Leo and San Antonio.

Commissioner Hutch Brock said he would be uncomfortable recommending any changes without community comment.

Commissioner Bill Dennis, who serves on the county Metropolitan Planning Commission, said any road construction is probably at least 10 years off.

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