Despite a staff recommendation to deny fireworks at Harbourside Place, Jupiter town officials voted Monday to allow them to light the skies above the Intracoastal Waterway at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“This is validation that we are the entertainment center of Jupiter,” said Nick Mastroianni III, vice president of Jupiter-based Allied Capital and Development, the developers of the $150 million outdoor entertainment center.
The overall “Countdown to 2018” event includes live entertainment at the amphitheater from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
The 10-minute fireworks display will be launched from the top of the north parking garage, which is about 1,100 feet from Waters Edge Estates, a residential neighborhood across the Intracoastal Waterway from Harbourside Place.
Some Waters Edge Estates residents complained about noise and property damage from the last time fireworks were held — July 4, 2015.
Those fireworks, launched from a barge on the Intracoastal Waterway about 300 feet from the residential homes, drew about 4,000 people, but brought complaints of nearby residents.
Burns on outdoor furniture and canvas tops on boats were among the complaints. The fireworks company paid out about $2,500 in damages to a Waters Edge Estates resident.
Denying the request for fireworks — but allowing the rest of the “Countdown to 2018” celebration — was recommended by the town planning and zoning commission staff.
Fallout from the fireworks could endanger traffic on U.S. 1 and Indiantown Road, according to the staff report.
“I’m not comfortable taking a risk for personal property and public safety,” said Planning and Zoning Commissioner MB Hague, the lone dissenter in the 6-1 vote. No town council vote is required.
But other commissioners agreed Harbourside officials have taken enough precautions for public safety.
Known as “close proximity pyrotechnics,” the fireworks to be used on New Year’s Eve are safer and can be controlled easier than regular fireworks, according the a letter to Jupiter from Bunnell, Fla.-based Santore & Sons Inc., the company launching the display.
Close proximity pyrotechnics can be launched closer to people and use fewer explosives than conventional fireworks, says the letter.
“There is no burning debris like with normal fireworks. It is small paper debris,” said Mastroianni.
No parking will be allowed on the parking garage rooftop during the event.
U.S. 1 north and south of Harbourside Place may be closed for a short period before, during and after the fireworks display if fire department officials determine it is necessary. Two message boards would be set up on U.S. 1 on both sides of Harbourside to warn motorists before the event if U.S. 1 is temporarily closed.
Outside alcohol sales by approved vendors and licensed tenants will be allowed until midnight. Outside consumption of alcohol will be permitted until 12:30 a.m. within designated event area, according to the agreement.
Fireworks have been a longtime point of contention between the town and Harbourside Place, which opened in 2014 — with fireworks.
Harbourside Place officials can’t predict which way the wind will blow or how the fireworks will work in such close proximity to residents, Waters Edge Estates resident Paul Chaney said.
“It’s a matter of safety and technique,” said Chaney, who opposed allowing the fireworks.