As a result of the city’s automated garbage pickup system being put in place, city officials are now going back to address open burning regulations as residences on larger parcels of land work to get rid of landscape waste.

The Clinton City Council’s Rules and Regulations Committee on Tuesday heard a proposal from At Large Councilman Mark Vulich, who said the containers provided through the new system will not be large enough to hold residential landscape waste from properties that are one acre or more in size.

“I thought the waste container would be a catch-all,” said Vulich, whose home is located on 1 1/4 acres and has 800 feet of brush line. He pulled out about 31 feet and the can already was full.

Under the current ordinance, no one can burn combustible materials, residential waste, trade waste, rubbish, disaster rubbish, refuse or garbage in the city of Clinton. There are exemptions to this ordinance, among them that residential waste fires and/or open burning shall only be allowed at dwellings of four family units or less and only permitted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from April 1 through May 15 and Oct. 1 to Nov. 15. However, the ordinance states that in the event the city establishes the automated system, then the section will be repealed and eliminated, a repeal that would not apply to agricultural zoned land or to lots of 1 acre of more in size. The automated system is to go into effect this month.

Under Vulich’s proposal, that entire paragraph would be removed from the ordinance and replaced with one that reads: Residential landscape waste fires and/or open burning shall only be allowed at dwellings of four family units or less and occupying a lot size of one acre or more and shall only be permitted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Burn piles are limited to a dimension of 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. Agricultural zoned land or lots more than 5 acres in size are exempt from the 3 feet diameter and 2 feet height burn pile restriction and must comply with Iowa Administration Code regulations in regards to landscape waste fires if the waste is produced in clearing, grubbing and construction operations.

He also is proposing another change that deals with variances. Currently a person wishing to conduct open burning of materials not exempted or a burn pile of a dimension larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet higher or at a different time of burning is to make a written application to the city administrator for the variance to allow burning of materials.

The variance may be granted by the city administrator only upon a finding of special or emergency circumstances.

The variance granted must specify the time and manner in which the burning is allowed.

Under Vulich’s proposal, a person with a lot size of 1 to 5 acres who wishes to conduct open burning of materials not exempted, of a burn pile of a dimension taller that 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height or any person with a lot size more than 1 acre desiring a different burning time must make a written application to the city administrator for variance.

The city administrator will then decide whether to issue a permit based on special or emergency circumstances.

After Vulich made his proposed changes known, Clinton Fire Marshal Mike Brown was asked what he thought of them.

He said the council needs to decide what its intent is in changing the rules and when doing so to make sure they are able to be understood by residents.

“Any ordinance needs to be easy to understand and easy to enforce,” he said.

The issue was forwarded on to the Committee of the Whole on a 2-1 vote. Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman and Vulich voted to forward the measure, while Ward 2 Councilman Mike Kearney voted against it.

In other action, the committee forwarded to the city council a request to remove a loading zone parking sign at the marina to ease parking concerns for restaurant management and an amendment to the sewer use charge in which the rate increase that went into effect July 1 will go into effect the first full billing cycle for new accounts.

The increase was causing billing problems for people who were hooked up during a quarter that had the old rate and the new one.

“It’s a fairness issue,” said City Attorney Jeff Farwell.

The committee will next meet at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 2

This Week's Circulars