Seaside has a simple message this year for those who set off illegal fireworks on or around the Fourth of July: “If you light it, we’ll cite it.”
For more than a decade, Seaside City Council has struggled to find a viable solution to the annual problem, where fireworks light up the sky over the city at nearly all hours of the night, posing a significant health and safety risk – mainly, fires.
Over the past year, City Council has allocated more than $70,000 to address the issue. Much of that will go to a professional fireworks show the city is hosting July 4 at the city’s Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course. It will be the first time ever the city is hosting its own fireworks show.
On June 7, Seaside staff will update the council on its new plan to effectively crack down on the fireworks. Key to the plan, City Manager Craig Malin says, will be city personnel piloting two drones on July 4 and throughout the week prior to the holiday, aiming to capture evidence of violators. The city will then send citations to violators about a week later.
The city is sending out postcards to every household to inform residents of the new enforcement plan, and Malin says that anyone who thinks the city doesn’t have the resources to enforce the ban “will find out they are mistaken.”
“We’re trying to significantly change the culture on the topic,” Malin says. “Let’s do something family-friendly and legal, and let’s not do illegal fireworks.”
City officials plan to enlist the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol to help provide security for the fireworks show because, Malin says, “Enforcement is an all-hands-on-deck program.”