Barrington Hills looking at possible changes to open burning regulations

  • Barrington Hills Trustee Trustee Brian Cecola, who heads the village board's public safety committee, said feedback from a meeting last week will be reviewed before deciding whether any changes to open burning regulations are necessary.

    Barrington Hills Trustee Trustee Brian Cecola, who heads the village board's public safety committee, said feedback from a meeting last week will be reviewed before deciding whether any changes to open burning regulations are necessary.

 
 
Updated 6/24/2020 11:19 AM

Barrington Hills officials are exploring whether changes are needed in the village's open burning regulations after hearing from residents on several sides of the issue.

Resident Nina Chandel recently told the village's public safety committee the ordinance for residential property needs a definition for habitat restoration open burning. She also suggested a modification for approved habitat restoration open burning days to be available based on wind speed and the air quality index.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Chandel said the current burning policy is hindering her ability to restore 4 acres of forest to natural health near her home.

"I now have masses of invasive brush on my residential property that cannot be removed or chipped or mulched," Chandel said. "And it cannot reasonably be burned within the three-hour, five-foot single location limits that are in the current ordinance. Right now, this massive invasive brush presents health and safety hazards for the forest plants and wildlife and for us."

Resident Justin Pawlik questioned Barrington Hills' 10 p.m. cutoff time for a fire during the village board's public safety committee last Thursday.

"It's not even dark out until 8:30, so my family and I can only have a fire in our outdoor fireplace for an hour and a half before I become a criminal," Pawlik said. "I'm concerned about that piece."

Trustee Brian Cecola, who heads the public safety committee, said feedback from last week's session will be reviewed before deciding whether changes to the open burning regulations are necessary. Cecola said he, Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan and Police Chief Joseph Colditz will meet on the matter.

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Any potential changes recommended by the public safety committee would have to go before the village board, which gets the final say on issues.

With a 5-acre lot minimum, Barrington Hills is one of the few suburbs that allows burning on residential properties. Burning regulations include, but are not limited to, a maximum of three hours per day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at least 100 feet from a neighboring property.

In addition, someone must be constantly present at the fire and only dry firewood, landscape waste or lumber that isn't painted or treated may be burned.

Resident Richard Michi's concerns centered on what he said has been longtime, excessive woodpile burning on a neighboring property. Michi contends that frequent smoke makes it difficult for him to enjoy his patio or open his home's windows.

Among his suggestions are limiting burning from 10 a.m. to dusk and requiring that a woodpile be placed beyond 150 feet from a lot line. He also wants a $750 fine for first-time violators.

"I'd like to see if we can structure something that fits everybody, the needs of everybody, make everyone comfortable," he said.

Nearby Lake Barrington has temporarily banned open burning in what officials say is an effort to help residents with respiratory problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said the measure will last through Dec. 31, thus delaying the burn season that typically would restart Oct. 1.

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