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Kill Devil Hills in Dare County is the latest town to approve a balloon release ban

Yellow and blue balloons in the sky.
Marilee Macilroy
Yellow and blue balloons in the sky.

The Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners has approved an ordinance to ban balloon releases within the town’s boundaries.

Wildlife advocates argue balloons can harm marine wildlife, who mistake them for food. Anyone who violates the ban will pay a penalty of $25. Violators will have 10 days to pay the fine.

Some commissioners wanted the fee to be increased to a $250 fine, which is similar to ordinances in nearby towns. But, during this week's commission meeting, Commissioner B.J. Mcavoy said a $250 fine for a balloon release is excessive.

“It's an awful thing for the environment,” he said. “I would never do it myself, but you do have the occasional you know, an often unintentionally release of a balloon... More often there's an unintentional release. So, who's going to police that?”

Balloon release bans are already in other Dare County towns with the $250 fine such as Kitty Hawk, Duck, and Southern Shores. Moving forward, Kill Devil Hills Mayor John Windley suggested circling back to the issue over the fine.

“If we find that they're having success and these problems are reduced, we can always revisit this and look at beefing it up,” he said.

A public hearing for Dare County Commissioners about their own ban is expected to be held next week.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.