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Homer Glen residents will need permit to burn leaves this fall

Updated: November 11, 2013 12:13PM



This fall, residents wishing to burn leaves in Homer Glen will need a permit to do so.

A free permit will be available at the village hall and is the first step to ensuring that residents are burning their leaves correctly, Trustee George Yukich said.

Homer Glen village officials have been hearing for years from residents who are against leaf burning.

Residents have complained that the smoke and odor from leaf burning aggravates their health problems and pollutes the air and have asked the village to ban it. The village board also has heard from residents with large wooded lots who say it is necessary to burn leaves to keep them under control in the fall.

The village’s public safety committee has conducted several meetings for the past year before adopting an ordinance on Tuesday, which allows leaf burning with a permit.

Village officials said that drafting an ordinance to accommodate all residents is difficult. Because of the wide variety of lot sizes in Homer Glen — some residents live in subdivisions with homes close together while others live on large, densely wooded lots or farms — it’s difficult to create a one-size-fits-all leaf burning ordinance.

The village has looked into the costs of offering a vacuum truck to collect and dispose of leaves but found this to be too expensive and not practical for all areas of the village, officials said. It also would be impractical to offer yard waste containers or bags for owners of lots with hundreds of trees, officials said.

As a result of the new ordinance, residents can pick up a free permit to burn leaves. If the regulations of the permit are not followed, the homeowner could be fined from $100 to $750 for each offense.

If residents are caught burning leaves without a permit, then they will be asked to put out their fires until a permit is secured.

Mayor Jim Daley said he knows that residents in the village have burned leaves for decades, and he will ask code enforcement officers to be lenient on residents so they can be educated on the new permit process.

Village officials said the permit will help both the village and the fire department learn what areas in town are burning leaves and ensure that burning is done safely and properly.

Village officials added that if a neighbor’s leaf burning is causing a nuisance, then to call the police.

Among the rules for burning leaves include burning at least 50 feet from any structure and 20 feet from any trees or shrubs; do not burn leaves on a paved roadway, burn when the wind speed is between 5 mph and 15 mph and never burn grass clippings. The village also says residents should notify neighbors if they intend to burn so that neighbors with health conditions can take proper precautions.



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