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Antrim supervisors discuss burning, but hesitate on action

May 29, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, PA. - Open burning in rural parts of Antrim Township sparked discussion Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors about ways to douse the issue for neighbors down wind.

Residents' complaints that a neighbor's burning has smoked them out of house and home brought the issue before the supervisors. The couple asked the township to draft an ordinance regulating the nuisance caused by the smoke, ash and debris of open burning.

Janet and Elwood Helman of Hades Church Road said they came to the board after visits from local police and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection were unsuccessful at regulating a neighbor whose burning fills the Helman home with smoke on a weekly basis.

"Our neighbors have burned everything from chairs to waste and even railroad ties," Janet Helman said. "The smoke is so bad our house looks as if it is on fire."

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Helman said she contacted the DEP division of Air Quality Control to address the burning, but she was told by representatives that because Antrim Township does not have a burning ordinance, they could do nothing.

Board Chairman Curtis Myers said he is wary to create an ordinance that has a wide reach based on a complaint by one resident.

"It is tough for us to make one rule for one person when 13,000 people live here," he said.

Township Manager Ben Thomas said 65 percent of Antrim Township is rural and "for better or for worse" many residents will burn waste.

Thomas suggested the board explore burning ordinances in other municipalities but cautioned that regulatory ordinances like one for burning would be difficult to enforce without a full-time police force.

Zoning Officer Angela Garland said the Helmans' complaint is not the first received by the township for burning and that similar complaints have come from residents in the township's older neighborhoods.

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