The City of Muscatine Planning and Zoning Commission made recommendations to the City Council that Muscatine allow the sale of fireworks in all existing retail districts beginning June 1, according to the new state law.

The new law requires that jurisdictions that approve the sale of fireworks are required to permit the sale of consumer-grade fireworks from a permanent structure between June 1 and June 8, and in a temporary structure, such as a tent, from June 13 through July 8.

Current city code restricts the sale of explosives, which would now include fireworks, to the industrial area, within the zone M-2, and requires a conditional use permit. It is the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission to include all other zones that are currently zoned for retail.

The Zoning Commission listened to a presentation from Muscatine City Planner Andrew Fangman, in which he made a recommendation for more stringent property line set-backs than are required by current National Fire Protection standards. Fangman’s recommendations were that the retail structure would have to be set back 20 feet from the property line, 150 feet from any nearby residence, and 50 feet from non-residential properties.

Hy-Vee Mainstreet Store Director Matt Schweizer said, “We want to be able to sell fireworks here. People are going to buy them now that they are legal. We may as well do what we can to make sure they are buying them in town and not somewhere else.”

Schweizer also recognized that his location may have challenges meeting the recommended requirements. “I just don’t want you to turn a blind eye,” Schweizer said. “If it doesn’t work for my lot, that’s OK. I just hate to see people leaving town to buy [fireworks] because we know they’re going to buy them.”

Emily Bockelman, Manager of Perishables at Muscatine Hy-Vee, addressed the commission. “We have an opportunity with our organization to raise a significant donation to MCSA with the sale of fireworks.”

Fire Marshal Mike Hartman felt the recommendations were sound, indicating they were a “good compromise” for the city. He said the suggestions would ensure the safety of residents, while not restricting sales.