Fireworks sales get green light


By Miles Smith

Residents ringing in the New Year in unincorporated areas of Caldwell County will be able to shoot off aerial fireworks following a discussion at Monday’s county commissioner’s court meeting.
The move marks a departure from last year’s decision to ban firework usage and sales out in the county prior to New Year’s Eve 2016, when conditions were much too dry for officials to deem it a safe practice.
This year, sales will not be regulated in the unincorporated areas of the county in the days leading up to New Year’s.
While a wetter autumn that includes the first measurable snowfall in years contributed to the county’s decision to allow aerial firework usage, Caldwell County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Chief Martin Ritchey said revelers should still exercise caution and use common sense when using fireworks.
“There was a lot of dead brush and dry surfaces last year,” Ritchey explained. “This year, we have sufficient ground moisture. We don’t need to put restrictions on sticks and fins. But I want to put the word out there stressing that folks use fireworks appropriately.”
Related to ground conditions resulting from a wetter autumn, the Caldwell County Commissioner’s Court voted not to reinstate the burn ban.
“Last year, the forecasts didn’t call for snow,” Ritchey told commissioners. “We were pretty fortunate have a little white Christmas. It was beautiful out there.”
In other action, commissioners:
Approved a matching percentage amount of 1.75 percent to county employee retirement fund accounts
Approved taking the next step with revisions to the Caldwell County Development Ordinance, which were recommended unanimously by a committee. An engineer will now prepare a takings impact analysis, and the code will return to the commission for final approval.
Approved a variance request to allow a right-of-way of less than 60 feet in width concerning Compostela subdivision located on CR 177
Approved a preliminary plat for Compostela with variance request approval to include 48 lots on approximately 78.437 acres on CR 177
Approved a variance request for the design of private gravel roadways for approximately eight tracts out of 111.956 acres located on CR 107.


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