BREWER, Maine — Having backyard fires just for the fun of it may be banned if proposed changes to the permissible open burning rules and regulations go forward without changes.
City Council members, who got an earful from residents when the changes were presented at their regular meeting earlier this month, are asking members of the public for comment.
An informational workshop on the proposed changes to the fire prevention ordinance is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at City Hall to discuss possible revisions to the amendment, which will be presented to councilors for final approval in October.
The changes proposed include new setbacks, backyard fire pit rules and adding wording to define “nuisance.”
The use of outdoor grills or fireplaces would be restricted to “cooking and preparing food” only, under the amendment as written. It would eliminate the words “recreational purposes.”
The planned setback for permitted burns, suggested by residents, would require 100 feet between a fire and a public way or property line.
The proposed amendment’s wording would add “public alarm” as another reason for permits to be revoked and would define a nuisance as
“preventing the enjoyment of one’s property.”
Problems with the open burning rules were brought before the council in May when Richard Tozier, who lives on Brimmer Street, complained that his neighbor was burning illegal items in a fire pit and the smoke was a nuisance.
While discussing the ordinance, Fire Chief Rick Bronson said there already are established rules about what may and may not be burned in backyard pits.
The decision to post the amendment for a month passed 3-2, with Councilors Joseph Ferris and Michael Celli voting in opposition. Mayor Manley DeBeck, who voted in favor of reviewing the amendment in October, said changes were needed before he’d endorse it.