County board urged to limit open burning : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|County board urged to limit open burning|
|Resident asks officials to restrict burning adjacent to incorporated areas|
|by Matt Schury|
Jim La Porta of Yorkville wants the Kendall County Board to change their ordinance regarding burning.
La Porta addressed the board during the citizen's comment portion of the board's July 3 meeting.
"I want to ask you all to amend the burn ordinance that is now in place for unincorporated Kendall County in areas that are adjacent directly to incorporated areas-example the city of Yorkville," La Porta began.
La Porta lives on Tuma Road in the Heartland Circle subdivision, which is adjacent to unincorporated Bristol Township.
Following the recent storms, La Porta says his neighbors in unincorporated areas began burning debris. He said he was without power from 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 30 while this burning was going on and his wife has health issues.
La Porta said his wife is a "severe asthmatic" who has had several bouts with pneumonia.
"We had to close our windows in our home because the smoke was penetrating the house. Her asthma had kicked in and we couldn't run any air conditioning because we were without power," he related.
He says he called the Kendall County Sheriff's Office and everyone was "very polite and pleasant" but officers told him there was nothing they could do since residents in the unincorporated areas of Kendall County are allowed to burn.
However, La Porta insisted those burning were violating the county's burn ordinance.
"There are restrictions that do not allow burning under certain conditions that are hazardous or unsafe-one of which is public nuisance and they define that as any condition that is considered harmful to a person or property," La Porta said.
He added that the ordinance restrictions include not creating a public health nuisance as well as not burning materials that create dense smoke, vapors, gas, soot cinders or other airborne particles or offensive or lingering odors or unreasonable or toxic quantities.
"You need to let the Kendall County Sheriff's Department know that this ordinance exists," he said.
La Porta informed the board that the debris being burned was wet, which exacerbates the quality of the air.
"When you burn wet debris, the amount of hydrocarbons that are released are greater in content and more dangerous to anyone with asthma or heart disease or history of pulmonary disorder," he said.
He went on to say that the conditions that day were not appropriate for burning and it was not as windy so the smoke lingered.
"Based on the precautions in your own ordinance, a police officer should have went out to that site, observed the conditions and if they determined they were inappropriately burning for those conditions that person should have been warned and or cited," La Porta said.
La Porta noted that this is the second time he addressed the County Board, the first was eight years ago. He said because the city has grown they need to take a look at the ordinance and consider the health hazards of burning.
"But if you're concerned about significant pushback, you might want to do this in baby steps," he said.
He recommended first banning burning in areas adjacent to the city and later on extending it.
"If a farmer has acres and acres of land and he is far removed from adjacent property and he wants to burn, I don't consider that a good thing because there are environmental reasons why he shouldn't do it but if you're going to get a lot of pushback that might be a concession that you can make," La Porta said. "But clearly you need to take some action because this is not an appropriate thing to do and people that are breaking your ordinance need to be cited for it."
La Porta said he is going to continue to call the sheriff's office when burning happens near him until action is taken.
"I really believe there is nobody in this room that wants to do harm to anyone nor would anyone that's burning this material want to do harm to anyone, if they understood what they were doing," he said. "This is important because someone's life could be at stake."
Board member Jeff Wehrli asked La Porta if he spoke to the people doing the burning. La Porta responded that he had not, but that he did talk to the Health Department.
Board members suggest
resident buy a generator
Regarding the fact that his power was out, board member Anne Vickery asked La Porta if owned a generator.
"Do you have a generator so can close your house up and run your air?' Vickery asked.
He responded that he had a 14-year-old generator and it is not large enough to run an air conditioning unit.
Board member Nancy Martin encouraged La Porta to purchase a larger generator.
"They have whole house generators that would more suffice for more of what you probably need it," Martin said.
La Porta added that he failed to see why he should have to do this.
"No offense, but why should I go through the extra expense of installing a house generator when you can ban someone from burning?" La Porta responded.
"You just said that someone's life depends on it, if it was my husband I think I'd spend the money for a whole house (generator)," Martin said.
La Porta wondered aloud if by that logic the entire subdivision should purchase the generators.
"What about just changing the ordinance?" La Porta said.
Martin encouraged La Porta to talk to the person creating the problem.
"Well I live out in the country ... my kids all live by me and nobody is ill but I don't want to take away the ability for people in the country to burn," Martin said.
State's Attorney Eric Weis said he had to enforce the law as it is currently set and that he hadn't read the burn ordinance that day so he said he didn't know if they violated it.
Sheriff Richard Randall said his staff is working on the case and they are working with the Health Department
"This is an ordinance not a state law to enact and enforce, the Health Department does have the power but we also need the complainant to step forward also and sign the complaint," Randall said.
La Porta responded that he would be glad to do that.
"My command staff has talked to the Health Department and the violator also," Randall said.