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Photo: Tom Lambui

Riverhead Town to get strict on fireworks application deadlines

Riverhead is altering its fireworks application process after the town fire marshal expressed concerns that deadlines are not being met by applicants.

The town has been accepting fireworks applications submitted less than 30 days in advance of an event. Fire Marshal Craig Zitek told board members at today’s work session the practice causes a problem for local fire departments because they have a much shorter time frame to perform the required safety inspection for every site.

“The issue is it’s supposed to be 30-days’ notice, but it often comes in later. Thirty days works well. We’re pressed but it’s not too bad until you get under two weeks,” Zitek explained. “A lot of chiefs work full-time jobs, and they’re not always jobs in the Town of Riverhead. If it’s late notice, I’ve got to drop everything to run around.”

The town is drafting a resolution to create a $1,000 “expedited fee” for fireworks applications submitted 14 to 30 days before an event. Any application submitted less than two weeks before an event will be denied.

The fee would act as an incentive for event organizers to get their applications in with plenty of time to spare for the fire department, said Supervisor Sean Walter. He also suggested that half the fee be given to the department’s benevolent fund.

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