by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove residents in attendance during the village Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday night wanted to make it clear that they very much enjoy their open burning rights.
The village chose to hold the discussion after receiving several comments from residents who have respiratory issues and cannot be around an excessive amount of smoke, as well as those who believe the village isn’t doing enough to prevent residents from reckless burning practices (allowing their fires to smolder, burning items that are not permitted by the village, etc.).
According to a village document, Sugar Grove’s waste hauler now offers a curbside pickup service, which means the village has the option to ban open burning in the villages. However, the document states that discussions regarding a total ban were poorly received.
“I don’t think we should ban the burning,” Village Trustee Mari Johnson said during the meeting. “I do think we should be more responsible … enforcing the ordinance we already have.”
According to the village document, some of the suggested code amendments include adding the word “dry” to the definition of debris (wet debris is an inappropriate burn item); the addition of “sunny day,” which will prevent residents from burning during wet weather conditions that can cause a fire to smolder; and the mandatory presence of an extinguisher, hose or water source while burning.
“When I was out campaigning, the issue of open burning (was) the second-most popular concern people had,” Village Trustee David Paluch said. “And I just wanted to bring it to the board, and to the public, to have that discussion. I’m not looking at banning (burning) at all. I think we should look at maybe being a little bit more responsible when it comes to (open burning).”
Village President Sean Michels said he thinks the board will take a look at the language in the current code and possibly amend a few areas to add some things.
“As a collective group, if we could sort of police each other and our neighbors, and tell them that we’re not trying to be a bad guy (by) telling them to keep the smoke down or knock it down a little bit, I think we’re all looking out for the best interests of the community,” he said.