As leaves are falling from the trees, Grant Township has taken action to ban burning of leaves and other household refuse in the residential resort zones in the township.
The township board approved the ban of outdoor burning of leaves, yard waste and household waste and garbage at its Oct. 2 meeting.
The ban was recommended by the township’s planning commission, which held a public hearing on the burning ban at its Sept. 24 meeting.
Joan Brooks, township trustee and member of the planning commission, brought the recommendation to the township board.
Joan Brooks said the ban would impact four communities in township, including Oceana Shores, Lake Tahoe, Robinhood Drive and Deluxe Oaks.
Brooks said the ban was recommended because the township has received complaints that smoke from the burning is causing health problems for neighbors who have respiratory programs.
“The trailers in those areas are too close for burning,” added Grant Township Fire Chief Roland Brooks who said he has received complaints about the burning.
Roland Brooks said the state does allow outdoor burning of garbage, but township ordinances will override the state law.
However, Michigan Public Act 102 of 2012, which was signed into law on April 19 and will go into effect on Oct. 16, prohibits the open burning of household trash that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals or hazardous materials. According to the Michigan DEQ, the burning of these household trash items pose a danger to human health and the environment. The law amends the open burning provisions contained in Section 11522 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Public Act 451 of 1994). The changes contain penalty provisions, which may be enforced by local units of government, should a local ordinance not exist.
While many cities, villages, and townships throughout the state have ordinances that prohibit trash burning, in some areas of the state there are no ordinances to address the practice, according to the DEQ website. Addressing trash burning complaints in these areas can be a problem for local officials. The new law provides a new tool that local governments can use to address trash burning complaints in their community.
Township Supervisor Roger Schmidt said Lake Tahoe, which is a private association, is drafting its own open burning ordinance.
Schmidt said that by next fall, options for disposing of leaves should be available to the residents in the residential resort areas.
Joan Brooks said the burning ban could be a financial burden for some of the residents, but the health concerns were a big factor. The county does have a solid waste transfer station for refuse disposal on M-20 in Ferry Township.
The township board also approved changes to the sign ordinance which will allow small groups of signs under a size limit for businesses.
Action on a fireworks ordinance was tabled. Joan Brooks said a hearing was held on a proposed fireworks ordinance at the Sept. 24 planning commission meeting, but planners were not ready to recommend an ordinance. She said more discussion on a fireworks ordinance is expected at the Oct. 22 planning commission meeting. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the township hall.