Garrard will tweak ordinance to allow burning

November 18, 2003|GARY MOYERS

LANCASTER - Garrard Fiscal Court delayed second reading of a comprehensive solid waste management ordinance at a special meeting Monday to allow modifications to be made to the section dealing with open burning.

The original ordinance essentially banned all open burning in the county, but magistrates and citizens alike expressed concerns to John Dixon, chairman of the solid waste committee, who drafted the original ordinance.

Dixon told the court the proposed ordinance, given first reading at the court's October meeting, did not include certain open burning exceptions granted by the state's burning laws.

"We can adopt an ordinance that is stricter than the state's, but we cannot adopt one that is more lenient," he said. "It is up to the court to decide if it wishes to grant exceptions."


After considerable discussion about burning trash, fields, gardens and various other possible reasons, the court decided to have Dixon rewrite the ordinance to include exceptions made in the state law.

Those exceptions include outdoor fires set for:

* cooking for human consumption

* recreational or ceremonial purposes

* comfort heating purposes for workers

* weed abatement, disease and pest prevention

* prevention of a fire hazard, including the disposal of a dangerous material if no safe alternative is available

* bona fide instruction and training of public and industrial employees for fighting fires

* recognized agricultural, silvicultural, range and wildlife management practices

* by individual home owners for burning leaves

* disposal of household rubbish, with certain exceptions

* disposal of accidental spills or leaks of crude oil, petroleum products or other organic materials, if no other economically feasible methods of disposal are available

* disposal of natural growth for land clearing, and trees and limbs felled by storms, with certain exceptions and provisions

* heating ropes set on fire to repair steel rails during cold weather.

Several members of the audience asked for a clarification of the section of the ordinance that defines a junkyard as any lot containing three or more "junk" cars, meaning the lot must be fenced if it can be seen from a road. Dixon said state law calls for five or more automobiles to meet the requirement, but magistrates said they had no problem with ordinance designation of three or more.

Dixon said more than three vehicles is not considered a junkyard if the vehicles are used in any fashion.

"It's the junkyards we're after, not businesses or people who repair these vehicles," he said.

Dixon will rewrite the section dealing with open burning, and the court will give the entire ordinance second reading and final approval at its December meeting.

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