Outdoor wood burning battles simmer in Syracuse

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Outdoor wood burning battles simmer in Syracuse

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:42 pm

Outdoor wood burning battles simmer in Syracuse
08/09/2014

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Sue from Syracuse doesn't get much sleep these days. She prefers to be known on a first-name basis because of an ongoing battle with a neighbor.

"Literally, this fire pit is underneath my bedroom window," Sue explains. "When it's hot out and it's been like 85 degrees all week, I've been told by the fire department, 'Close your window.' I can't close my window."

Sue wants city councilors to take a stand against outdoor burning, like many other communities where homes are close together.

She may be facing an uphill battle.

Nearby, the Town of Salina passed an open burning ban in the 1960's, according to Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra.

When a reminder was posted online this year explaining that fire pits are not allowed in Salina, many people in the town resisted, some outright promising to defy any possible enforcement efforts.

When Gregory Nelipowitz bought a chiminea a couple of years ago, he didn't know about the open burning rules in Salina. There was no warning on the box. Unless a neighbor complains, he plans to keep lighting up.

"In the 1960's the law was on the books. Since then, people have central air. A lot of people keep their windows closed in the summer. It's hot, humid and muggy out. I don't see it as an issue. All my neighbors have their windows closed," said Nelipowitz.

He's never been asked to stop burning and Nelipowitz says he hopes there is some middle-ground for neighbors who want to use fire pits and other burning devices, if their neighbors don't complain.

In Salina, it appears that is already the case.

"We're not out there looking in your backyards to see if you are using a fire pit. But, if someone complains and it is an issue, then the town has a responsibility to act and we will do that," said Salina Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra.

Nicotra said devices used for cooking generally do not create as much smoke and are allowed in the town. Salina follows New York State's code.

Residents in Syracuse are also allowed to use cooking devices. When asked to clarify the rules, a spokesperson from city hall passed along language from local and state codes.

"A person shall not kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open burning unless conducted and approved in accordance with this section," per NYS Code.

Another section provided states: "Prohibited open burning. Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited."

A section of the current Syracuse code that was provided to Newschannel 9 states: "Outdoor fires fueled by trash, yard waste, construction debris or any similar material are expressly prohibited, except with the specific written permission granted by the office of the chief of fire, after written request demonstrating reasonable purpose, compelling need and adequate provision for public safety."

Sue wants more specific language to outright ban wood burning in fire pits, chimneas or any other device that could potentially send smoke billowing through her window.

"My son has asthma. My husband has other health issues," Sue explained. "We shouldn't be subjected to this. If there is a law that you can't even smoke in a park now, why are we allowing smoke to fill one's house?"

The chairperson of the Neighborhood Preservation Committee of the Syracuse Common Council is considering legislation to get the issue of open wood burning under control.

The committee is holding a meeting in the Common Council Chambers on Thursday, August 7 at 1pm.

Sue's husband already has plans to attend, with video.
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source
http://www.localsyr.com/story/d/story/o ... PGDoW-2OSw
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