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Changes to Burn Permits and Fireworks Ordinances

Updated: Jul 12

Stafford, CT - July 3, 2024


A couple of changes are coming to the town's fire ordinances. Fire Marshal Mark Morrison came before the Board of Selectmen (BOS) to propose two changes. The first change is to the burn permit fee.


Morrison wants to move the permitting process online like other permits. He said that right now, people looking to obtain a burn permit often have to come to the office multiple times because he is usually out of the office. However, moving the process online has a cost, and rather than having the town absorb the cost, he suggested changing the fee from $15 to $25. He said the town has never increased its burn permit fee. The Fire Marshal will still have to do site visits to issue the permits.


The second change is to how the Fire Marshal is paid for the time he has to be present at fireworks displays. State statutes require a Fire Marshal to be on hand from the time the fireworks show up until an hour after they are done. Morrison says he regularly attends fireworks displays at Stafford Motor Speedway and Sun Valley and that, historically, the town has had to pay for this. He asked the BOS to update the regulations to require private organizations to pay for this time at $80 an hour.


Initially, Selectman Kurt Vail opposed the changes, saying that the town had just raised taxes and that taxpayers would have to pay these fees.


Stafford's CFO, John Lund, was on hand and said that he has property in New Hampshire and that burn permits cost twice what the new price would be in Stafford.*


Selectman Rick Hartenstein likened the fireworks ordinance to when police are hired for private construction projects. Morrison pointed out that he modeled this on the Resident State Trooper's model.


Ultimately, Vail was convinced, and all three selectmen voted to send the changes to a town meeting.


*Editor's Note: Several readers have written to dispute this claim. In New Hampshire, burn permits issued by the state online only cost a few dollars. Many towns also have in-person applications, and though those costs may vary, I found several where there was no fee for in-person applications. I followed up with Lund, who said he had not applied for a permit in quite a while and could have been mistaken.



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