NOW ONLINE: Whitehall Council Posts Open Fires Ordinance

The proposed new law will be on public display for two weeks. And other notes from Wednesday night's borough council meeting.

Open Fires Ordinance Drafted

A new ordinance regulating open burning in Whitehall Borough has been drafted and made available for public review at the borough municipal building along Borough Park Drive. (UPDATE: The proposed ordinance is also available online.)

The proposed ordinance resembles one currently in use in Hampton Township with, as Whitehall Borough Manager James E. Leventry said, "a few tweaks."

For example, Hampton officials do not allow for grills, outdoor barbecues or fireplaces used strictly for cooking to be less than 10 feet from a house, structure, inhabited area, roadway, utility or property line, but Whitehall's ordinance, if passed by the Whitehall Council, would set that minimum at just 5 feet.

In all other cases of open burning in Hampton, the fire shall be located a minimum of 15 feet from the nearest house, structure, inhabited area, roadway, property line, utility, tree or other combustible materials, but Whitehall's ordinance would lessen that restriction to 10 feet.

Perhaps most importantly to borough residents, Whitehall's ordinance would "(never) prohibit the use of a patio chiminea, patio heater, or other manufactured above ground patio fire pit, patio fire table, or similar containment device on a deck or patio where the device is designed and recommended for such use by the manufacturer."

However, Whitehall's ordinance, like Hampton's, would allow only an adult property owner (18 years of age or older) to start a "small open fire" on his or her property and only for the following purposes:

  1. "Warmth of outdoor workers (only at temperatures below 40-degrees Fahrenheit); and
  2. Non-commercial preparation of food for human consumption, light, ornament, or recreation."

Also of note, Whitehall's ordinance would prohibit any open fires between the hours of 1 and 7 a.m. And, "in all cases, the open fire shall be of such size that the combustible material and flame are contained completely within the perimeter of the authorized containment receptacle, and in no case may the combustible material and flame be greater than 16 square feet in area or in excess of 3 feet in height above the receptacle."

Open burning may be conducted "using only charcoal, natural gas or other clean burning fuel or dry, clean logs, twigs or other wood products. Only smokeless fuels, or small kindling, if any, may be used to start a fire."

The Whitehall Council may vote on whether or not to pass this ordinance at a future council meeting.

Read more on this topic here.

Possible New Development at Whitehall Country Club Site

A motion by Councilman Philip Lahr at Wednesday night's council meeting to have Whitehall's planning commission investigate what should be the most suitable zoning distinction for the former Whitehall Country Club site along Provost Road was carried, 6-1. Councilwoman Kathleen N. DePuy cast the lone "no" vote.

Lahr said that two possible developers have approached borough officials recently with plans to turn that site into something different.

Lahr said that one proposal is for an apartments building for autistic children, and the other is for government-controlled "lower-income" housing.

"Any time you attack a zoning situation, it's a big deal," Council President Glenn Nagy said before voting "yes." "It's about as big a deal as a municipality can get involved in. You have to be very, very careful what you change the zoning to that can allow types of uses that may not be in the best interests of the borough."

Councilman Harold Berkoben clarified, "This is just an investigation." 

Shade Tree Vacancy Filled

The borough council unanimously selected resident Bob Scharding on Wednesday to be a Whitehall representative on the Brentwood-Baldwin-Whitehall Multi-municipal Shade Tree Commission.

Nagy said that three residents applied to be on the commission and commended all of them for volunteering their time and efforts to do so.

Whitehall Council Revises Local Firearms Law

Read here.

Click here for more Whitehall Borough news.


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jwill March 06, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Good thing you don't live near a campground. Multiple fires burning every night in summer.
Margaret French March 06, 2013 at 05:16 AM
nofire pitts... I have limited time to post right now so I will just say I don't have time to read those links you provide either. I will still be firing up my fire pit when the weather is nicer. Sorry, go out and get a gas mask.
Margaret French March 06, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Hey cc- this is the only way I know how to contact you. You have to come down here. I have to tell you what happened with my crazy neighbor and the police.
nofire pitts March 09, 2013 at 06:45 AM
cc, they may have done that local study at CMU http://burningissues.org/car-www/science/Pittsburghwoodsmoke.html just to argue against you: "Wood burning (aqua section) creates more fine particulate than the coal power plant and trucks combined. The report shows that wood smoke, as a source of fine particulate, is equal to any of the other sources in the area. Note that it is a campus area where one would not expect a local source of wood smoke." ------ As for me moving out to the country, as you mock me, do you think I didn't consider that? The problem there is much worse nowadays, with outdoor wood boilers and more neighbors using wood as a primary heat source in winter. Without local government's help there is no refuge. Here is a rare article where the lung-diseased woman's neighbors actually gave a damn. Please note: "the particles in the wood smoke are so small that they get into the deep parts of the lung," Stroebel said. "And then [those particles] can actually get into the blood stream and then enter systemic circulation." : http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/11/12/wood_burning_stove_dangers
nofire pitts March 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Just came across this woman's testimony from Milford, CT a few years ago. Please consider her family's health ramifications from neighbors' outdoor fireplace. http://burningissues.org/car-www/pdfs/2009HBLaura%20Russo,%20Milford-TMY.pdf --------------- Ms. Russo says, "... I can tell you, an outdoor fireplace goes for anywhere from 50-150 dollars. My co-pay for the ambulance ride was a lot more for each trip. ..."


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