The Lompoc Police Department ahead of Independence Day reminds the public to celebrate the holiday safely and observe laws on the use of fireworks to help protect the community.
Capt. Kevin Martin of the Lompoc Police Department presented a schedule of financial penalties at the June 21 city council meeting that violators could face due to the zero-tolerance approach that includes fines of up to up to $1,500 for first-time offenders and an increase of $1,000 for each subsequent offense for possession, use, storage, sale or display of “dangerous fireworks”. The offense could also be considered a criminal offense and warrant a misdemeanor charge.
Martin warned that violators could risk losing the July 4 program at Lompoc as well as being “hit significant fines”.
“I hope that the community does not risk losing this program for the Fourth, to respect it, and not to lose the large sums of money,” he said.
So far this year, the department has seen 128 reports of fireworks – eight in January, one in February, six in March, four in April, 18 in May and 91 in June.
Additionally, City Ordinance 8.28.120 states that members of the public may lawfully possess and discharge so-called safe and sound fireworks only during the hours of 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, July 4.
Martin said anything outside of that time frame is considered a violation of the city’s municipal code and grounds for a citation.
Part of the code states that safe and sound fireworks must not be discharged onto or over another person’s property, and cannot be ignited or discharged within 10 feet of a residence. or in a public space.
It is also considered illegal to light or discharge safe and sound products on or over any public street, sidewalk, alley, park or parking lot without the prior written permission from the Fire Chief or designate, or issued a 4th of July block party permit. Permits are obtained through an application process with the Lompoc Parks and Recreation Department.
For more information, community members can call the city at 805-875-8100.
Mayor Jenelle Osborne noted that obeying the law is especially important during the height of fire season and extreme drought conditions.
Martin assured the audience that “we’re going to be out there; we’re going to do our best to limit that”, while noting that he won’t detail “what we’ll look like or what we’ll drive”.
While officers will have had to witness the illegal use of fireworks or have a witness ready to come forward to identify offenders, Martin said there are a number of city cameras throughout the community. which can be used to identify residents who violate the municipal code.
“We hope we don’t have to, but we will if we have to,” he said.
Among nine other items in the consent schedule, council voted 5-0 to authorize the city manager to execute an intergovernmental service agreement to provide support services to the sewage treatment plant at the space force base. of Vandenberg, marking a growing relationship between the city and its military neighbor. .
Director of Utilities Charles J. Berry described running sewage services for the base as “incidental” and a first incremental step in building a bridge with the base.
“The city has sought to become more integrated with the Space Force base, a sort of strategic alliance, if you will, so that we can help the base be more effective and efficient in its primary mission, and, in at the same time, to expand the services that the city provides for the benefit of the community,” explained Berry.
Other issues included fares at Lompoc airport after the board voted unanimously to raise the agency’s annual hangar fee and tie-down rental rate by 5%. The fare hike is the first in more than two years since before the pandemic, according to Richard Fernbaugh, aviation and transportation administrator.
Fernbaugh said the increase would still stay below the 8.5% inflation rate and keep the city competitive with other airports in the region.
The injection of additional cash, he said, would help the airport meet upcoming maintenance costs, including $4-6 million in runway surfacing, runway electrical upgrades and equipment needs.
There are no plans to expand the runway or build additional hangars – all of which are full – until debt from upcoming projects is paid off, Fernbaugh said.
Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.