December 31, 2010
. . . Hello 2011!
Happy New Year to the land use community!
I've noticed a trend in the last few years of more cities putting on a New Year's or "first night" celebration downtwon. That's an encouraging sign for the increasing health of urban communities. This year, Houston is finally getting into the act with Gloworama in the new downtown park, Discovery Green.
Another New Year tradition that some of you might not be familiar with is fireworks. I have the window open (it's 70 degrees here) and can hear the bombs bursting in air. Fireworks are illegal in the city of Houston, but are legal in most of the unincorporated parts of Harris County. Fireworks law has actually been a fairly big issue, with state laws and local laws striking a balance that allows them to be used in some places at some times--with lots of exceptions for proximity to churches, schools, etc. You may not think that the churches or schools are fully populated at midnight, but I suspect that these exceptions have something to do with the fact that these tend to be the established exceptions to generally-applicable land use regulations. Also, fireworks can only be sold for only a few weeks before Independence Day and New Year's.
Stay safe, and have a Happy New Year!
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