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Greencastle burning ordinance under fire

June 02, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Barbecues and recreational burning might be the only open flames allowed in the Borough of Greencastle if a new staff-proposed ordinance is approved by the council.

On Monday, Borough Manager Ken Womack proposed changing the borough's code to prohibit all open burning except that associated with recreational uses.

Womack said the changes he proposed would reflect the original intent of the ordinance currently on the books.

The borough's original intent was to prevent residents from openly burning trash, garbage and leaves, he said.

Womack said the current ordinance is confusing and "results in more questions rather than specific guidance on open burning."

The new ordinance would hopefully clean up the language and also proactively prohibit the outdoor furnaces that Solicitor Sam Wiser said have given the Borough of Mercersburg headaches.

"The thought is to get on this before it becomes an issue and we have to grandfather in a few of these furnaces," said Council President Charlie Eckstine.

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While the Borough Council acknowledged Womack's intent, some members expressed concern that prohibiting residents from burning leaves would leave no other option for leaf disposal.

Councilwoman Michele Emmett said Greencastle is the only place she has lived that does not provide some form of disposal for leaves.

"If we ban open burning, that is fine, but we need to step up in terms of services if we do not allow residents to burn those things," she said.

With Emmett and fellow council members Craig Myers and Paul Schemel concerned about taking action on the ordinance, Councilman H. Duane Kinzer suggested Womack take it back to the drawing board and explore options for leaf disposal.

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