Will County rules on open burning remain elusive
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com February 13, 2014 11:42AM
Updated: February 14, 2014 2:16AM
Will County Board members continue to debate whether to restrict open burning in unincorporated areas and tabled the issue again Thursday after an hour-long debate by the board’s public health and safety committee.
Open burning now is banned within 50 feet of a structure, and some board members have suggested that outside fires be prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school, park, hospital, nursing home or residence of a person with a chronic respiratory disease — except for controlled burns and firefighter training. Agricultural land and recreational fires, such as fire pits and charcoal grills, would be exempt from those limits.
But several board members objected to the 1,000-foot restriction as excessive, arguing that it would in effect prohibit open burning in just about any area of the county.
If burning is banned, the county would have to offer other options, such as leaf pickup, like Frankfort Township does, said board member Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Square.
Board member Don Gould, R-Shorewood, questioned whether extending the restriction to the homes of those with a respiratory illness, would be enforceable, noting that “people move every day.”
“Why make a law for a few people who have a problem with their neighbor?” said board member Chuck Maher, R-Naperville.
On Thursday, the committee discussed a 300-foot limit as a compromise and focused more on limiting open burning to only certain times of the years, such a spring and fall. Some members said “structure” and “recreational” fires need to be more clearly defined.
Some board members expressed exasperation with the open burning issue, saying the board has debated it off and one for about eight years.
“We need to come to a conclusion, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” said board Speaker Herbert Brooks, D-Joliet.