Council OKs appeal on judge’s ruling on fireworks permits

City News Service

The City Council voted 7-1 today to authorize the City Attorney’s Office to appeal a Superior Court ruling that the Parks and Recreation Department must follow state environmental guidelines when issuing permits for fireworks shows.

The action came in closed session, with Councilman David Alvarez dissenting.

The city and the organization that puts on an annual July 4 pyrotechnics display at La Jolla Cove were sued by environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez, who successfully contented that the city does not follow its own municipal code when issuing such permits.

Environmentalists believe debris from the fireworks harms sea life in a nearby marine sanctuary.

Organizers of fireworks displays claimed the extra cost of complying with state environmental laws will put them out of business, while the city argued that since the ruling could apply to all kinds of permits beyond just fireworks, staff workload would increase severely.

Judge Linda Quinn, who issued the ruling that favored Gonzalez, stayed her order to give city officials time to determine how they would comply. That action allowed the La Jolla Cove show to go on last month.

A hearing is scheduled in her courtroom on Aug. 31.