Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Board discusses open burning ordinance

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners, at its Oct. 9 meeting, grappled with revising its open burning ordinance. Commissioners dealt with a myriad of inquiries, such as what constitutes an open pit, before ultimately tabling the matter until some questions are answered.

The board initially agreed to review proposed changes to its open burning ordinance, but Commissioner Philip Ginder recommended having its legal and legislative committee review the matter. Commissioners accepted his suggestion.

Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. weighed in on the topic, saying, “No open burning in the township is allowed — period.”

That edict is in compliance with state regulations that ban open burning.

Commissioner Jeffrey Dutt questioned what constitutes an open pit — whether one is made with brick — and the use of materials — such as charcoal — or the duration of cooking outdoors.

Fire Chief David Nelson said, under special circumstances, he has granted permits for open burning, such as bonfires.

Commissioner Linda Snyder responded by saying not allowed permits should be applied across the board.

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” she said.

Exceptions of the ordinance include outdoor preparation of food, indoor heating appliances — such as fireplaces or wood and coal stoves — and industrial or commercial incinerators that have Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection air-quality permits.

Violators could face hefty fines imposed by the township if the ordinance is not followed.