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Residents ask Homewood board for help with noise from fireworks, lawn care

Two Homewood residents brought concerns to the board Tuesday, June 25, with concerns about noise from fireworks and lawn care services that they said are disturbing the peace in their neighbhoods.

Glenda Townsend said she has lived in Homewood for nearly 40 years and the noise from fireworks last year was the worst she has experienced. She told of observing neighbors shooting toward her home.

“My concern is that this is an imminent fire hazard. I have a wooden deck,” she said. “My concern is: How are we going to keep residents from using illegal fireworks?”

Most fireworks are illegal in the state and in Homewood, but she noted that even legal fireworks like sparklers can be dangerous, especially to children.

A sign in Hazel Crest warns residents of a large fine if they
use fireworks. Homewood officials said the village doesn’t
have the same options because it’s a non-home rule
municipality. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

“Most of the villages in the area put forth some type of fireworks program. What are we going to do to encourage residents to use those programs in lieu of buying their own and endangering everyone around them?” she said.

She asked why the village hasn’t done more to discourage fireworks use. 

Mayor Rich Hofeld expressed sympathy for her concern, noting that the whole board agrees with her. 

“I have three dogs that hide for that week,” he said.

He noted that the signs posted in neighboring villages like Country Club Hills and Hazel Crest, which warn residents of high fines for violating fireworks bans, wouldn’t work as well in Homewood. Both neighboring villages are home rule municipalities, which means they can set their own fines for fireworks violations. As a non-home rule municipality, Homewood has to follow the fine schedule set by the state.

Hofeld asked Police Chief Denise McGrath to address Townsend’s concerns. McGrath said she is aware of the complaints from residents, especially after last year.

“We are addressing it this year. I’m not going to address specifically on how that’s being handled, although I can assure you it’s at the top of our list for this coming holiday,” she said. 

On Monday, July 1, the village posted a message on Facebook advising residents that “If any fireworks are found in your possession, they will be confiscated and you will be issued a citation. The public is advised to call 911 to make any complaints regarding fireworks.” 

Adrienne River asked whether restrictions could be placed on lawn care services, which she said sometimes start work as early as 7 a.m. with loud machines, including mowers, edgers and leaf blowers.

“I’ve experienced noise pollution to a degree that I think significantly adversely affects my life,” she said. “There are days when the noise is unrelenting.”

She said some communities do more to regulate when lawn care work can be done, and some even ban the use of gas-powered equipment. 

“I urge you to consider ways to ameliorate this problem as well as to consider shortening the times of the day in which these companies can operate,” she said. 

Village Manager Napoleon Haney said that, as with fireworks, the village is limited on what it can practically do to address lawn care noise.

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