Lavallette officials say a committee looking into the development of ordinances is continuing to develop regulations on the use of outdoor fire pits in town.
Some officials have argued that outdoor fire pits have grown larger as they have become more popular, and have often been observed having been lit close to neighboring homes. A number of residents have also complained that their neighbors’ fire pits fill their houses up with the smell of smoke. The complaints, and concerns by fire officials, have led the borough council to investigate regulating fire pits, however the state fire code already sets forth regulations, and it has been questioned whether the town can simply adopt the state regulations as its own and enforce them locally, or expand them.
The ordinance committee looked into the possibility of requiring outdoor fire pits to be commercially-sourced and run on propane with ceramics and other materials filtering the flames, but “it’s not something we can enforce,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone, who leads the ordinance committee.
“We do feel strongly about any fire pit that is using combustible material,” Filippone said. “We need to write some restrictions or controls on how far from a structure it can be, maybe a mesh cover – whatever the state statute allows.”
Locally, Manasquan had been the only municipality to regulate fire pits until Seaside Park adopted an ordinance last fall. The Seaside Park ordinance bans fires that send “overwhelming” fumes into neighboring homes, requires a person at least 18 or older the be on-site while a fire pit is burning, and prohibits fire pits within 10-feet of a property line. The ordinance also limits the size to a 3-by-3 foot area.