Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the Editor
Support for current burn rules for rural residents

November 14, 2012

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Jim Altene's recent letter on leaf burning ("Reader urges vote on leaf burning ban," Nov. 7). First, I think he is confusing the City of Clarkston with Independence Township –both have their own burn ordinances. Independence Township has been working on a modification to their burn ordinance for more than a year.

At every township meeting on the burn ordinance, the majority of citizens present were against changing it. If you can get the township to let us vote on it, I think you would be very surprised at the results. The part of Independence Township I live in is still very rural. My neighbors and I still like to have summer bonfires, etc. The current policy although not perfect, is a compromise that fits most people.

The township checked with several of the area garbage disposal companies. The companies stated at the meetings that they are very near their capacity to pick-up and compose leaves. If there was an increase in leaf disposal caused by the elimination of burning, they would not only have to place a limit on the number of bags allowed, but also start charging for their removal.

Unlike Warren, or Troy, many of us that live in Independence have lots of trees on our lots. They produce lots of leaves, too many to compost all of them. When we start having to pay to remove our leaves, a lot of property owners will face the choice of removing trees.

The amount of oxygen my trees produce more than offsets the amount of pollution I may cause by burning the leaves once a year. If you think the cost of removal of 100 or more bags would be a small amount, you can pay my bill for the removal. Have you ever lived downwind from a compost pile that was not properly maintained? Besides the smell they can be a big eyesore and attract a lot of unwanted pest animals.

If you burn leaves when they are dry and in small quantities, they will produce very little smoke. The current burn ordinance allows the fire department to put out the fires when inconsiderate neighbors burn wet leaves that cause lots of smoke. You cannot make laws that will enforce common sense or make someone a good neighbor.

John Keusch

Independence Township