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Monday, May 2, 2016

Official explains permits

Sunday, July 26, 2009

(Photo)
Smith
A recent move by the Common Council of the City of Brazil has some residents questioning what justifies the need for a burn permit.

To better locate the location of an individual conducting an open burn, the council passed a motion to require permit applicants to show picture identification and a document with proof of residence before one is granted.

"The permits are intended for those cooking food over a ground fire pit," Brazil Fire Department Chief Jim Smith said. "There is no intention to deny the residents that right."

Part of the reason for the move was some individuals had been applying for an overabundance of permits and others had been signing in under fake names.

"When you have some people coming in to get dozens of permits a year, it throws up a red flag that they might not just be cooking hot dogs and roasting marshmallows," Smith said. "We have also had cases where people sign their name as "Who Cares," "Mickey Mouse" and other aliases that are not real."

Smith added burn permits are not required for cookouts using a charcoal/gas grill or an above ground grill with a perforated cover.

"We consider those the same as barbeque grills and no permit is needed to use those," he said. "However, perforations in the cover may be no larger than one-quarter of an inch, and it is illegal to burn trash or leaves anywhere in the city limits."

Smith told The Brazil Times his department responds to all reports of potential illegal burns, but do not necessarily stop to question the individual or group.

"Most of the calls we get come from a neighbor saying they see black smoke or a large flame," he said. "We then check the records to see if they have received a burn permit, then we go by in either the small truck or Blazer, and if we just see someone cooking and nothing looks suspicious, we won't stop because there is no need to hassle them."

Reports are common as Smith said his department has received 14 calls in the last 30 days alone about burning concerns, but added they do not treat them as emergencies.

Having the individual conducting the burn show identification and proof of residency has made things easier on the fire department to respond to calls.

"When there is a legitimate address provided, it makes things more efficient for us to check things out," Smith said. "Plus, if someone sends their friend or family member, who may live in another area, they may not be familiar with the regulations set here in the city and the homeowner is ultimately responsible for any illegal actions taking place on their property."

Along with state regulations concerning open burning, the City of Brazil also has its own ordinance. According to Section 97.02 (B) of the city's Code of Ordinances, "No fire intended or used as a recreational or ceremonial fire ... shall be used for the purposes of disposing any household trash, garbage, refuse, outdoor waste, foliage, branches, leaves, plastic and building materials, waste materials and waste substances, tires, treated wood or materials containing asbestos."

Smith told The Brazil Times the restrictions are in place to protect residents and homes in the city.

"It is important to be smart about when you are burning as well," he said. "If there is adverse weather conditions or other unsafe factors, it is imperative to stop and think not just for the safety and health of yourself, but others around you also."

He added there are fines in place which can be levied on violators, but said most are willing to comply once they are told to stop the illegal burning.

"We would have to call the Brazil Police Department to come write a ticket, which is a $250 fine for the first violation," Smith said. "However, if we tell someone to pull the illegal materials out of the fire or extinguish it, they will comply more times than not, but we will have a ticket issued if there is blatant disregard for the situation."

Smith reiterated a burn permit is required basically only for fire pits on the ground, not above ground grills.

"Those burning things on the ground are the biggest problem we encounter," Smith said. "There are a lot of safety issues involved with ground fires, especially if they are not contained in a ring."

He added it is important for the homeowner to get the burn permit themselves, as they are responsible for their own actions.

"It doesn't cost anything and takes only about five minutes to get a permit," Smith said. "Since we started requiring identification, there have been no problems and with some people abusing the privilege, I could see there being a limit on how many can be received in the future."

To view the city's ordinance regarding open and illegal burning, or any other ordinances, log on to www.brazil.in.gov and click on the "City Ordinances" header.


Comments
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As long as you are doing it legally what does it matter how many times you do it. My family likes to have cookout and roast marshmallows and we do it often whats wrong with that?

-- Posted by mdh1175 on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 10:21 PM

"He added it is important for the homeowner to get the burn permit themselves, as they are responsible for their own actions." yet "Plus, if someone sends their friend or family member, who may live in another area, they may not be familiar with the regulations set here in the city and the homeowner is ultimately responsible for any illegal actions taking place on their property."

Poppycock..........no matter who signs for the permit, the owner or resident is responsible for what happens on property they control so the name of the person informing city government that there is a controlled fire at a specific location is not relevent, period.

No matter how you slice this, it still isn't apple pie! It is just government interfering in the private lives of citizens beyond what is needed.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 11:17 PM

"Part of the reason for the move was some individuals had been applying for an overabundance of permits and others had been signing in under fake names. "When you have some people coming in to get dozens of permits a year, it throws up a red flag that they might not just be cooking hot dogs and roasting marshmallows," Smith said."

"When there is a legitimate address provided, it makes things more efficient for us to check things out," Smith said.

Questions: Just what is an "overabundance of permits"? Who defined that? If a resident wants to burn a fire on their own property that hazards no one every day that it is fit and safe to do so, isn't that the right of a free person? If there is a fire for which no legitimate address has been listed on the "burn permit" list, isn't that a fire that is not in compliance with the ordinance that should warrant a citation and a fine?

Quoting from the article: "To better locate the location of an individual conducting an open burn, the council passed a motion to require permit applicants to show picture identification and a document with proof of residence before one is granted."

Quoting from Ordinance 90.42 RECREATIONAL OR CEREMONIAL FIRES:

Section A (2) " Fires must be attended at all times by a person at least 18 years of age until it is completely extinguished."

Section B: " Any person desiring to have a recreational or ceremonial fire pursuant to this section shall register with the Brazil Police Department dispatch personnel on duty and state the name of the person or organization conducting the fire, the purpose of the fire, the location of the fire and the starting and ending times of the activity associated with the fire."

Comments and questions: Where does the ordinance state that the person attending the fire, conducting the fire, and the current resident of the property must be the same person? Should it, or can the person attending the fire be anyone over eighteen? Does the person who signed for the burn permit have to be in the proximity of the fire or even present on the property as long as the fire is properly attended? So, why identify any person when the very act of identification is an unwarranted invasion of privacy?

The main hurdle to governing the American people is that they have and are guaranteed individual rights that many times supersede government actions that are deemed necessary, at least temporarily in the eyes of government officials until the actions are struck down by the people, to protect the citizen from himself. Isn't it much easier to govern a people when you can dominate them, deny that they have any rights, and when they disagree, just execute them?

I, for one, am not interested in giving up any of my rights to use my property as I see fit or to exercise any of them in a manner that does not violate the rights of others or hazard public health and safety to make any government official's job easier.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 8:31 AM

*sigh*

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:57 PM

I don't see what the big deal is here. There's nothing wrong in my mind about the city wanting to verify the person and their home where the fire/cookout is going to be.

How is it really interfering in your life that the fire department want to be able to respond to a call and better serve the people, especially since our tax dollars pay them to do their job right?

In my mind, you got to be a little loco to not want to follow the rules on something that is free.

-- Posted by axegrinder1313 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 3:32 PM

Axegrinder -- "In my mind, you got to be a little loco to not want to follow the rules on something that is free." If it is "free", that means that no one controls it........LOL. You may see it as freedom to be able to walk in, produce two pieces of ID, sign a list, then go build your fire without having to pay for the privilege, but since you have to do all of that the "right to use your property" has became a privilege that can be denied. I see walking into my back yard and striking a match as true freedom. However, I see having someone tell city officials that it is a controlled fire so that money is not wasted by rolling out the fire department's equipment and wasting public resources over a campfire. I see a need for that to be in writing, as it was, so that the point of contact does not forget or misplace the information and roll the equipment. However, the requirement for ID is excessive government and that is the opposite of freedom with practicality.

"How is it really interfering in your life that the fire department want to be able to respond to a call and better serve the people, especially since our tax dollars pay them to do their job right?" There is a big difference between safety and freedom. Free people take their chances, safe people are told what to do, how to do it, where to do it, and are locked in tight when they are not doing it to KEEP THEM SAFE. Isn't that what we try to do with our children until they learn to watch out for their own safety enough to have as much freedom as is practical to live within our society?

In the words of Patrick Henry "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" I see no reason for government to look at controlling an individual or their property to the extent of the change in procedure. As someone felt that something needed to be done about cartoon characters signing for burn permits, why wasn't the police dispatcher instructed to monitor the list more closely? If Mickey Mouse was signed up, why wasn't that fire investigated? I would have had to have seen that! While Mickey is well over 18, I believe there would have been a REAL person at the fire or someone needed to be cited and pay a $250 fine. I can see the need to confirm that that specific fire conformed to the ordinance.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 6:16 PM

This city cannot run a basic water system but they sure can pass stupid laws. I am very glad I don't live in this city. Your mayor and city board would be replaced with my friends and myself if we lived there.

-- Posted by creller05 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 7:25 PM

Thanks Chief Smith, Council and Mayor, for caring about our city. If it was just about roasting hot dogs, and marshmellows there would be no problem. Burning brush, trash and other items are not recreational fires. Why is it there are always those out there who don't want to obey ordinances and other laws. Just ask the folks in Northwood who had their lovely homes filled with smoke from a neighbor's brush fire last week, how they liked it, not to mention the fire trucks had to go out at taxpapyer's cost.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 9:17 PM

I agree with you, FANCYPANTS, thanks to the Chief, the Mayor, and the Council for caring about our city and that a few people who do not consider others can spoil things for the rest of us. I am in the process of finding the facts on this "burning" (pun quite intentional) issue by asking questions of city officials.

Frankly, I have seen and smelled little indication that there is a rampant problem with open burning in the city in the past seventeen years; only infrequent incidents that should have been quelled with warnings or citations. I could have understood, but would not even heard about, a change in procedure to have the police dispatcher to more closely monitor the burn permit log and have the fictitious names investigated by sending authorities to the fire site to warn the people there to list their actual names, even though I see little point in listing the names at all.

Government officials in this nation have a very difficult job. They try to govern free people which means that they try to restrict the freedom of the individual in the best interest of the group. It is a very "ticklish" task that requires a lot of thought, but sometimes decisions are made without the thought process. This is what I fear has happened here. Instead of the in-house procedure change I outlined above, a "snap" decision was made with little thought that requires law-abiding citizens to subordinate their right to enjoy their property with minimum government involvement to solve a problem that could have been solved in a different fashion that respected the rights of citizens.

There is a group of people within this city, as there is in every community, that does not like the city as it is and seeks to change it to fit their idea of what it should be. While I do not know who makes up that group, I refer to that group as the Brazil Beautification and Busybody Bunch. Their goals include, but are not limited to, dictating to their neighbors what they should do with their property, what the city should do to grow, and how their neighbors should live on their own property beyond what is required for the population to live within the confines of the city limits in a relatively secure, peaceful, healthy, and safe manner. They cannot accept the fact that not everyone views the world as they do or does not agree with the restrictions or requirements that they would place upon others to make Brazil fit their concept. (If I were to take that position and had the power to do so, I would ban the use of electric lights outside of buildings. They cause light pollution that makes it practically impossible for anyone to enjoy the beauty of viewing the Milky Way in this area.)

They do not understand that the only way for government to dictate to the populace is to legislate freedom out of existence or to implement procedures that interfere with the exercising of freedom to the point that no one wishes to go to the trouble of filling out the forms and meeting the requirements to do so.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 9:18 AM

I'm glad I don't live in the city of Brazil. I would't want to get a permit every time I have a cookout.

-- Posted by fpitchsballdad on Wed, Jul 29, 2009, at 2:22 PM


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