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To burn or not to burn

Open forum set on open burn ordinance

August 24, 2011 - Those for and against open burning in Independence Township will soon get to have their say.

The Open Burning Ad Hoc Study Group hosts a public forum, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 31, at Independence Township Hall, 6483 Waldon Center Drive.

"There's been a lot of concern about health issues, a lot of complaints at the township," said Trustee Larry Rosso, study group chair. "But not everyone is in agreement. There are also lots of comments in favor of allowing open burning. It's a passionate issue for a lot of folks."

The meeting includes presentations by experts including Independence Township Fire Chief Steve Ronk, history of the open burn ordinance, regulations, and enforcement; Director of DPW, Linda Richardson, issues and history surrounding composting and brush collection; township attorney Steven Joppich, ordinance creation, revision, and case law; Archie Munson, general manager of Smith's Disposal, compost pick up service and disposal, mulching, leaf vacuum equipment; and Dr. Daniel Maxwell, health and medical implications.

Residents can question the experts and study group members Delynn Anderson, Sandra Boggemes Stanley Bojanczyk, Mark Geno, Andrea Hirsch, James Reed, and Dave Stoke.

"The forum will provide an opportunity to hear from the public as we look at the ordinance," Rosso said. "The committee will then meet and make a recommendation to the township board."

The recommendation should be ready for consideration by Independence Township Board by late September, he said.

Independence Township allows open burning of leaves, papers, brush, and wood scraps by permit only. Permits are issued by Independence Township Fire Department, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., April 1 through Nov. 31, and 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 1 through March 31.

Current regulations include no burning within 50 feet of any structure with provisions to prevent the fire from spreading, no burning along roadways, no gasoline, kerosene, starter fluid, or other flammable liquids, and burn pile must be no larger than six feet in diameter.

Penalties include $75 first offence, $150 for second offence. Campfire permits are also issued by the fire department.

For more information, call Independence Township Fire Department at 248-625-1924.

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