In 2009, the City established a process to allow certain not-for-profit organizations to sell fireworks within the City. The number of licenses issued each year was based on a population formula (one per 10,000 residents) with two additional licenses for under-served areas. Organizations with a religious, education, youth-related or community service mission were given "grandfathered" status to continue to obtain a license each subsequent year before new applicants were considered.
In December 2016, the City Council amended the Code to eliminate the population formula and set a cap of 16 licenses citywide, which effectively resulted in two additional licenses becoming available for July 2017. The ordinance also repealed the "grandfathering" provisions and converted the selection process to a random drawing for all eligible applicants. Only non-profit organizations within the City or serving the City are eligible to apply.
Following the adoption of that ordinance in December, the Council learned that some not-for-profit organizations that reasonably expected to receive a license under the previous "grandfathering" provision had committed to purchase merchandise for sale in 2017. Therefore, in March 2017, the Council adopted another ordinance to essentially delay the implementation of the random drawing process by one year. For 2017 licenses, the organizations which had received one of the 12 "grandfathered" licenses in 2016 continued to receive priority. The ordinance stated that, for future years’ licensing, applications would be taken in August for licenses for the following year and issued by random drawing. This would allow organizations the opportunity to confirm their fireworks stand license prior to ordering merchandise and committing funds for the following year. To ensure fairness in the random drawing for licenses, each not-for-profit organization would be limited to one application each year.
Staff is preparing to implement the new application process for 2018 sales on the second Monday in August in accordance with the ordinance adopted by Council in March 2017. A request was made by some of the previously "grandfathered" license holders to delay the full implementation of the random drawing system and instead allow for a gradual conversion through attrition. The proposed ordinance would return the application process to an April schedule and preserve preference for the 16 organizations that received licenses in 2017. If any of the 16 organizations fail to apply or submit incomplete applications, the remaining licenses would be issued by random drawing. In subsequent years, if any "grandfathered" license holder fails to apply, that organization would forfeit its "grandfathered" status and the license would be added to the random drawing.