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Superior to adopt new burning ordinance

Mark Thompson-Kolar
The Ypsilanti Press

SUPERIOR TWP. — The Superior Township Board of Trustees approved the first reading of a burning ordinance Monday night, but left the details about leaf burning up in the air.

The proposed ordinance allows residents to openly burn brush, untreated lumber and other plant material only after obtaining a permit from the township fire chief. The permit can be secured over the phone and applies only for the day on which it is granted.

Burning diseased crops is allowed only with permits from both the fire chief and the county agricultural agent.

Only recreational outdoor cooking and the use of heating devices by outdoor construction workers are allowed without a permit.

The proposed ordinance requires that adults supervise all open fires and that fires be kept 20 feet or more from buildings and property lines. It prohibits night burning, and burning garbage, tires, and rubber.

Police are responsible for enforcing the ordinance. Violations of the ordinance will result in penalties of between $25 and $500.

Township Supervisor Michael Ricci said, "It's an ordinance that's needed in this township, and an ordinance that is enforceable. ... But it's not going to be a popular one."

The ordinance does not specifically mention leaf burning, leaving that question open to interpretation by the trustees.

Trustee David Phillips said, "Under this ordinance you will need a permit to burn leaves anywhere."

Township Clerk Sandra Isaacson disagreed, saying she wants leaf burning to be banned in the subdivisions and that this ordinance does not directly prohibit it.

Trustee David Emmett said, "The board ought to consider having a survey of the people in residential areas to see if they want to ban leaf burning." The people who live in subdivisions may be against leaf burning, whereas the people in residential areas may feel that a ban would be too restrictive, he said.

He suggested that zoning laws could dictate where leaves could be burned legally.

The board must approve a second reading of the ordinance to make it effective.

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