Should Backyard Fires Be Allowed in Royal Oak?

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Should Backyard Fires Be Allowed in Royal Oak?

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:16 pm

Should Backyard Fires Be Allowed in Royal Oak?

Open burning is currently illegal in the city, but officials are considering modifying the Fire Prevention Ordinance to make fire pits legal with certain restrictions.

By Judy Davids
Email the author
April 2, 2013

here may be good news on the horizon for Royal Oak residents who enjoy fire pits and wood burning outdoor fireplaces.

The city currently prohibits all open burning, but officials are looking at changing that.

At the Royal Oak City Commission meeting on Monday, resident Pete Collins told commissioners that he had collected signatures from more that 800 residents in support of modifying the current ban.

"I would simply like this spring to enjoy my backyard," Collins said. "I think with rules and stipulations this can be worked out."

Under the current ban, if a neighbor calls "they actually send a fire truck to shut (a fire pit) down," said Commissioner Kyle DuBuc.

DuBuc is hoping the current ordinance can be modified to encourage safe behavior as opposed to a ban.

"Best practices and safe practices are in the best interests of our residents," he said, noting neighboring cities such as Madison Heights, Clawson, Ferndale, Troy and Huntington Woods allow open burning with certain restrictions.

Commissioners voted 5-2 (Patricia Capello and Peggy Goodwin were nay votes) to refer the possible repeal or modification of the open burning ordinance to the administration and city attorney for review. City officials are expected to bring back a recommendation and ordinance language at a future meeting.
What do you think?

Do you think Royal Oak should allow fire pits? Did you know they were illegal in the city? Tell us in the comments section below.

source ... -royal-oak


Open Burning, Fire Pit Rules Spark Debate in Royal Oak

Some argue passionately to continue to ban fire pits while others contend regulation is a better option.

By Judy Davids and Leslie Ellis
Email the authors
April 9, 2013

Discussion and debate over whether loosen open burning rules in Royal Oak is heating up.

Last week, the Royal Oak City Commission voted 5-2 to possibly repeal the open burning ordinance. Commissioners directed city administration to review the current language and potentially bring back a new set of regulations for open burning and the use of fire pits in Royal Oak.

The commission action follows a suggestion by resident Pete Collins and others, who asked the city to review its ordinance, especially in regard to changes that might allow outdoor fire pits. Collins told commissioners that he had collected signatures from more than 800 residents in support of modifying the current ban.
Royal Oak Fire Marshal supports current ban

The Royal Oak Fire Department is just beginning its review process in regards to modifying the ordinance, said Royal Oak Fire Marshal Tom Nikkola.

“My personal opinion is I am not for it,” Nikkola said. “The more burning there is, the more there is a chance for a fire. It’s that simple.”

Royal Oak resident Nancy Barnett agrees with that logic.

“A good strong wind can carry hot ashes and embers five backyards away. If someone leaves a window open on a windy night and another neighbor is having a bon fire, the fire risk is just too grave,” warned Barnett on Royal Oak Patch.

Burning outdoors is also currently prohibited in neighboring Berkley. The city’s ordinance makes it illegal to burn leaves, garbage, rubbish, refuse, trees, stumps and tires. Also included are materials of any kind that release odor, smoke or other matter.

The use of Chiminea-type outdoor fireplaces, metal grill fire pit devices, or similar items, is also a violation, according to Berkley’s website.
Some neighboring cities regulate open burning

In Ferndale, the city council approved a new open burning ordinance last October that allows for backyard fires, which had been illegal, as long as residents get a permit and follow certain guidelines.

“The new ordinance makes open burning less problematic,” said Ferndale Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan.

Sullivan believes the new ordinance provides a safe and legal way for residents to enjoy backyard fires and said the ordinance actually provides more control and enforceability.

“People are still burning, but there are less calls and less neighborhood disputes,” he said.

In Huntington Woods, open burning is also permissible, but the fire has to be contained within a pit that's designed for that specific use. It has to have a cover to keep the ashes from coming up, according to Huntington Woods Public Safety Lt. Ben Zawacki.

"There's not a whole lot of leeway. It's a very defined ordinance." Zawacki said.

The Huntington Woods Public Safety Department receives more calls in the summer and fall, according to Zawacki, but they only write tickets if it becomes a constant problem.

"People want it. What's the difference from having a barbecue, really? We just want to make sure it's safe, that's all," said Huntington Woods Zoning Administrator Hank Berry.

Royal Oak city officials are expected to bring back a recommendation and possible ordinance language at a future city commission meeting.

source ... rks-debate
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