Source: Sherman Publications

More burn regs recommended

by Trevor Keiser

November 09, 2011

Open burning should remain in Independence Township but with more regulations.

That's the recommendation of the open-burn committee, appointed to examine the issue. The six-member panel submitted their report to the Township Board, Nov. 1.

A public hearing on the recommendations will be at the Nov. 15 regular Township Board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Committee recommendations include: all open burning requires a permit, but remove “chimneys, fireplaces, and fire pots” and "bonfires" from the ordinance. They also recommended two new permits be established, one for the non-recreational burning of yard waste and the other for recreational campfires.

Camp fires are allowed any day of the year between 5 p.m. and 12 a.m. in an outdoor wood burning device or fire pit, but are limited to five feet in diameter and seasoned wood to reduce smoke.

Yard waste burn dates depend on lot size. Lots less than or equal to one acre will have four burn days a month: first and third Saturdays and Sundays.

Lots greater than one acre will maintain the current burn schedule, which is eight days each month: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., April 1-Nov. 31; and 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 1-March 31. Leaves can also be burned as yard waste between Oct. 1 to April 30. The size of fire is limited to five feet in diameter.

The committee recommends both recreational and non-recreational fires “be constantly attended by a competent person 18 years of age or older until the fire is completely extinguished."

They also recommend modifying the current 50-foot rule. Fires on less than or equal to an acre should be 25 feet from a structure. Lots greater than one acre must be 25 feet from a structure and 50 feet from the lot line.

The committee recommends stiffer penalties. First offense is a warning; second offense, $150 fine; third offence, $300 fine; and fourth offense $600 fine with potential prosecution.

If accepted, the committee recommends the changes be made next year, with review in April 2013.

The burn committee includes James Reed, Mark Geno, Stanley Bojanczyk, Sandra Boggemes, Andrea Hirsch, and Dave Stolk. Boggemes and Hirsch were against the recommended changes.