Gilford fireworks ban will stay in place at least through public hearing on Feb. 12

GILFORD — Selectmen decided Wednesday night that rather than creating a new fireworks town ordinance that would allow fireworks under certain situations they would continue with an outright ban – pending the outcome of a public hearing scheduled for two weeks.

The reason for the public hearing on February 12 is that the current board does not believe the ban enacted by the 1988 Board of Selectmen was thoroughly vetted through the public.

The vote to continue with the existing ban until the public hearing was not unanimous, with Selectman Gus Bevevides voting against the status quo.

Benevides is of the opinion that banning fireworks puts an additional burden on the police who have to "drop what their doing" and respond to fireworks complaints.

Benevides also said that most people in Gilford or who visit Gilford as tourists and/or as summer residents, don't know the town has a ban.

He said fireworks are legal to own in New Hampshire and, with some restrictions and penalties for non-compliance, in his opinion they should be legal to have and to use. He said would not support reaffirming the existing ban unless the general public overwhelming voices their support for continuing it.

The subject was first broached at the board level two weeks ago when Fire Chief Steve Carrier and a fireworks expert from the N.H. Fire Marshals Office presented a suggested revision to the ordinance that would allow them in town with some restrictions.