Northwestern Press

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Burning ordinance attracts full house

Thursday, December 14, 2017 by Elsa Kerschner in Local News

Washington Township Solicitor John Ashley gave an overview of the burning ordinance to a full house at the supervisors’ meeting on Dec. 5. The major question people asked was if there could be equal enforcement.

Resident Chad Christman said there had to be specific definitions for the various types of fires.

He said people took a relaxed attitude to burning and lately they have been tattling on each other.

Even people who have been burning for years are getting complaints.

Christman said there were two burning ordinances in place for 20 or 30 years but they were not enforced.

The reason for the single new ordinance is supposed to be for safety. Fires must be attended by someone over age 16.

Supervisor Josh Friebolin said if they do nothing, the old ordinances will still be on the books for at least 30 days.

John Perich said he wanted to see everything about the issue clarified.

Slatedale Fire Chief Bob Schramal began by saying the ordinance has to be enforced.

Ashley said campfires and food preparation are permissible.

Tom Robb said he burned some bushes because he saw other people burning.

“I don’t see why the fire marshal comes around and harasses us,” Robb said.

Supervisor Gary Van Norman said it was time to step back and evaluate the subjects being discussed.

He wanted the issue tabled and written comments turned in at the office.

He said there were many gray areas. The board tabled the issue.

Friebolin said the fire marshal has not been asked to go out and patrol.

“We’ll try and simplify it even more,” he said.

Wayne Kern, assistant fire chief, summarized it by saying, “Bob, you know they are trying to simplify.

“For one reason or another people feel they have been stamped on.

“We get calls they are mad at us. Enforcement is the problem.”

Van Norman said he wanted to thank everyone in the fire companies and in the office.

Friebolin thanked Van Norman who has been a supervisor for six months.

“When Gerald Phillips resigned, Gary stepped up and has been doing a good job and is liaison for the fire companies checking in on their activities,” Friebolin said.

Van Norman said it felt like six years.

Friebolin said it was Roy Dengler’s last meeting after 36 years.

“He could tell a lot of stories and has served with at least 11 supervisors beginning with Bill Jones and Albert Semmel.”

Dengler was presented with a plaque that noted his leadership, hard work and community interest.

Dengler thanked former supervisor George Beam.

“He worked well with me,” Dengler said.

Friebolin said there was a cake in Dengler’s honor for anyone who wanted to stay around.

He handed Dengler the gravel to finish the meeting for his last time.