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A smoldering topic in Tiskilwa

Village discusses burning ordinance changes

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 3:25 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 3:29 p.m. CDT

TISKILWA — Trustee Dan Acker made some suggestions on changing the burning ordinance in the village of Tiskilwa. The Tiskilwa Village Board met Tuesday.

Acker suggested board members consider potential alternatives to the burning of leaves, which represents the large majority of yard waste currently burned in the village. He suggested a slight modification to the existing open burn ordinance to permit burning of landscape waste during the months of April, October and November. The village’s ordinance doesn’t currently restrict when yard waste can be burned; it only stipulates burning from sunrise to sunset.

Acker also said members of Plow Creek have agreed to pick up bagged leaves within the village from residents once a week during October and November for no charge. Plow Creek uses leaf composting as part of their strategy to grow organic fruits and vegetables on their farm outside town.

Plow Creek has parked a trailer outside the village recycling center for residents to place bagged leaves during the fall months for several years.

“There is a fair amount of garbage burned in town,” said Acker. “Limiting burning can be dealt without handing out fines.” Currently any board member can issue a violation of the village’s burning ordinance.

Mayor Randy Philhower said a nuisance order violation form can be filled to deal with violators. He also felt any changes to the burning ordinance should deal with exemptions provided for dead trees that a resident wants to cut down or storm-damaged trees. He was concerned about limiting the months a resident can burn dead trees or storm-damaged limbs off of their trees.

Acker said a person could get a special permit to do that.

Philhower asked how a person would get that permit, since there isn’t anyone on the village board that is in town all the time to handle residents wanting to apply for these permits.

He also said Acker needs to fine-tune the proposed ordinance changes to consider how to handle what a resident needs to do to get rid of excessive tall grass along with storm-damaged and/or dead trees.

The mayor said he has written letters in the past to illegal burning violators.

Acker said his goal is to remove the smoke in town during October and November, even though the village has had a burn ordinance in effect for almost 20 years without much enforcement.

Acker said he will put together a more specific set of guidelines for distribution to the community later this summer, if the board decides to move forward with this issue. No vote was taken on Acker’s suggestions Tuesday night.

Board members said they had no problem with allowing Plow Creek to offer the curbside pickup of leaves this fall for Tiskilwa residents.

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