SOLON– The first reading of new restrictions for the open burning of landscape waste has been approved by the Solon City Council.
But some residents are still questioning the limits, and one avid gardener is seeking some modifications.
In March, council members endorsed a proposal limiting the burning of yard and garden waste to three days a week between April 1 and May 25 and Oct. 1 through Nov. 25. If adopted by the council, residents would be allowed to burn plant material generated on their property on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. during those periods.
The first reading of the revised ordinance passed unanimously last week, with the second and third readings expected at the April 18 and May 2 council meetings.
The change would go into effect after publication of the new law.
“I think it’s a generous compromise,” noted council member Brad Kunkel. “It’s a good combination of all the other towns we kind of looked at. It’s more than accommodating given the other alternatives that we offer.”
Those alternatives include utilizing yard waste stickers for curbside disposal and the development of a municipal compost pile behind the city’s public works building.
Former council member Sue Ballantyne, an opponent to the restrictions, asked the city to consider eliminating some of the May burn dates in return for some time in June, July and August, but no action was taken on her request.
Ballantyne said having six weeks to burn in spring was not necessary, and she asked the council to consider allowing gardeners one or two days to burn each month in summer as garden crops were harvested.
“What the alternative is going to be is people are going to be piling up piles and piles and piles of stuff waiting for October first,” she said. “It’s the same number of days, just spread them out in a fashion that fits the needs of the people who burn.”
Council member Steve Stange said he would prefer to see how the new restrictions work for a year or two before making more changes.
“Why are we even thinking of this?” asked Solon resident Cheryel Reyhons. “Are there a majority of citizens in this town that wanted this or is this a council issue?
“I’m not finding a majority in favor of doing any restrictions on outdoor burning at all,” she said.
Council member Mark Krall responded the city was one of the last of area communities to implement restrictions.
“But why are we doing it? Just because of other cities?” Reyhons questioned. “We’re doing more government for the sake of having it there?”
“It’s not more government for the sake of having more government,” Kunkel said. “It’s offering people a chance to have their windows open. When you burn your yard waste, that smoke is being forced on people who can’t do anything about it.”
Reyhons compared the situation to people who move out to the country and complain about the hog farm next door. “Did they look into this before they moved to town to know that Solon doesn’t have a burning ordinance?” she asked.
“I don’t see who has a lot to lose by doing this,” Kunkel said.
Another resident, Andrea Erhart, compared the council’s concern over open burning with her situation across the street from an existing feed mill. “I can’t open my windows and nobody cares,” Erhart said, noting dust from the adjacent facility coats her car inside and out. “I don’t think that particulates in the air a couple of times a year should be an issue.”