Outdoor fires in Seaside Park will be subject to new regulations under an ordinance introduced by the borough council Thursday night.
“This was a compilation of different areas of input from the community, the council, the fire chief,” said Mayor John A. Peterson.
Under the ordinance, outdoor fires must be “entirely contained within portable fire devices and permanent fire devices,” and may be lit and fueled only with “clean firewood, charcoal, manufactured fire logs, propane, and natural gas as permissible fuels.” The ordinance specifically bans fueling a fire using “brush, leaves, trees, trash, refuse, and treated and wet wood.”
Most significantly, the ordinance prohibits fumes and smoke from outdoor from being allowed to overwhelm residents of neighboring properties – one of the primary drivers of calls to begin regulating fire pits and similar devices. Smoke and embers should not interfere with the “air quality, peace and quiet enjoyment of neighboring residents.”
The ordinance also adds a regulation requiring a fire to be attended by a “competent adult” 18-year-old or greater. Fires cannot be located within 10-feet of a property line, accessory structure on the property (a shed, for example), or fences or decks. Fires for “recreational purposes” must be contained in a manufactured device designed as a fire pit or “in a proper non-combustible stone, cement, brick, tile or metal firepit of no more than 3 feet in diameter and shall not exceed 3 feet in height.”
Flames may not exceed two feet in height and a fire extinguisher or connected water hose must be present.
The ordinance states that no new fire pits may be built in town without a permit and an inspection.
Finally, the new law empowers the borough’s fire chief or his designee to enforce the ordinance. That individual is authorized to order any residential outdoor fire be immediately extinguished if it is determined the fire creates a “hazardous condition.”
“In addition, all members of the borough fire department and borough police department are authorized to require that any residential outdoor fire be immediately extinguished if smoke emissions are found to be offensive to occupants of surrounding properties,” the ordinance states.
The fire chief can also issue a blanket ban on fires under certain weather conditions, such as very windy days.
The borough code provides a wide range of fines and penalties for violating municipal ordinances, depending on the frequency and severity of the infraction. Portable barbecue grills are exempt from the ordinance.
The ordinance has been introduced and is now subject to a public hearing and second vote at an upcoming council meeting before final passage.
Read the Ordinance: