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Old 12-01-2016, 07:58 PM
5 posts, read 14,340 times
Reputation: 10


Hi All,

I recently purchased a house that I love in West Bloomfield. I fell in love with the natural beauty and privacy afforded by the area, and particularly my neighborhood. To my dismay, I've researched outdoor burning and found that the township has an all encompassing ban. I was aware of this when I purchased the house, and in spite of the fact that I've grown up hosting bonfires and continue to love doing so. It was too good of a value and checked too many boxes on my wish list to pass up. For the record, I enjoy an outdoor fire at a safe size, and only burn clean, dry wood, unlike some of my neighbors in my rural hometown who would burn yard waste or trash.

My question is.. is this ban broadly enforced, or is its main purpose to give them leeway if people are causing problems? In my own neighborhood, and in numerous homes I've looked at in the township, I've seen dozens of Fire rings. Additionally, I read a story in the Oakland Press that discussed the township rewriting the ordinance to allow reasonable recreational fires, but it has stagnated without action for a time. Do you think anyone will really care if I burn respectfully? I honestly couldn't care less about some stupid, unnecessarily restrictive ordinance unless there are actual consequences to me violating it. It's a low-medium density suburb, not a densely populated city. Almost all comparable suburbs and even some densely populated ones, like Ferndale, allow burning. I'm hoping that as long as I'm not an A-hole about it, I'll get a pass. Does anyone have personal experience with this ban that they'd like to share? Side note: to the people at the WB meeting discussing this ordinance griping about the "harmful effects of wood smoke," please stop trying to micromanage people's lives and learn to live a little bit. Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:26 AM
1,648 posts, read 2,742,861 times
Reputation: 1438
No one will care if you have a fire pit.

It's meant to address burning leaves, tires and yard waste.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:30 AM
Location: Here.
14,543 posts, read 13,269,944 times
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For reference:

Sec. 13-21. - Open burning of solid waste prohibited.
Open burning of any kind of solid waste, trash, refuse or other materials, including but not limited to, paper products, cardboard, painted or treated wood, plastic, styrofoam, leaves or yard clippings is prohibited.

(Ord. No. C-790, § 1, 3-24-14)



Sec. 11-76. - Basis and intent; short title.
Basis and intent. The Township Board of the Charter Township of West Bloomfield has found that open burning on residential property has and contributes to creating or furthering a detrimental environmental effect, a health hazard, and serious and significant effects on the values of properties within the Charter Township of West Bloomfield. It is the intent of this article to prohibit open burning on residential property and thus promote the public health, safety and welfare of the township.
Short title. This article shall be known and may be cited as "the Charter Township of West Bloomfield Open Burning Ordinance."
(Ord. No. C-245, § 1, 11-20-89; Ord. No. C-645, § 4, 4-14-03)

Sec. 11-77. - Definitions.
The term "open burning" means the setting on fire, igniting or combustion of any natural or manmade material, item or thing out-of-doors. Open burning, as defined for the purpose of this article, shall not include the burning and/or use of: Candles, lanterns, lamps, bug repellent torches, fireplaces, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, charcoal cookers, braziers, hibachis, grills or any flammable liquid or liquefied petroleum gas-fired stoves or similar devices maintained and used solely for the preparation of food on the premises of the owner or occupant. Controlled fires caused and maintained for the training of authorized firefighters and fires confined to matches used for the purpose of maintaining authorized fires shall be excluded from this article's provisions.
Section 11-80. Open-flame cooking devices. Amended to read:

Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within ten (10) feet of combustible construction.

Exception: Single-family dwellings.

Section 11-81. Liquefied-petroleum-gas-containers. Added to read:

LP-gas containers with a water capacity greater than 2.5 pounds [nominal 1 lb. LP-gas capacity] shall not be located on combustible balconies or within ten (10) feet of combustible construction.

Exception: Single-family dwellings.

Exception: Where such balconies are served by outside stairways and where only such stairways are used to transport the cylinder.

Section 11-82. Provisions supplemental to chapter 11, article III. Added to read:

The terms of the ordinance shall supplement chapter 11, article III of the West Bloomfield Township Code, as amended, and shall and does hereby repeal and supercede any conflicting provisions of chapter 11, article III, as amended, to the extent of the conflict.

The term "fire chief" means the Chief of the West Bloomfield Township Fire Department or his designate.
The term "zoning ordinance" means the Charter Township of West Bloomfield Zoning Ordinance, as amended, as codified under chapter 26 of this Code.
Words not expressly defined above shall have the definitions customarily ascribed to them.
(Ord. No. C-245, § 1, 11-20-89; Ord. No. C-372, § 1, 10-19-92; Ord. No. C-645, § 4, 4-14-03)

Sec. 11-78. - Prohibitions.
Except as provided in this article, it shall be unlawful for any person to cause, permit or maintain any open burning of any substance on property situated in a residential zoning classification pursuant to the zoning ordinance.

(Ord. No. C-245, § 1, 11-20-89)

Sec. 11-79. - Prohibition on burning of leaves, brush and twigs.
On all lots and parcels in the township, the township shall not specifically except or authorize the burning of leaves, brush and twigs and, accordingly, the open burning of such materials shall be completely prohibited as provided under section 11-78, and as ultimately contemplated under section 18b of Act 641 of the Public Acts of 1978, as amended.

(Ord. No. C-245, § 1, 11-20-89; Ord. No. C-266, § 1, 4-2-90; Ord. No. C-266-B, § 1, 4-19-93)

Sec. 11-80. - Outdoor cooking devices on attached residential premises.
For reasons of proximity and the potential for fire extension from one residential unit to another, the use of cooking devices exempted from the definition of "open burning" in subsection 11-77(a) on the premises of a residence physically attached to one (1) or more other residences creates a relatively higher risk of fire damage or injury to property and persons in adjoining residential units than where such devices are used on the premises of a detached residence. Accordingly, where a cooking device is used outdoors on the premises of a residential unit which is physically attached to one (1) or more other residential units, such device shall not be exempt from the definition of open burning and shall be included within the open burning prohibition contained in section 11-78 above, unless all of the following conditions are met:

A functioning fire extinguisher shall be readily accessible during all times the heat source of the cooking device remains in a heated condition.
When the heat sources of the cooking device is in a heated condition, the cooking device shall be located a horizontal distance of at least eight (8) feet from all structures constituting a part of a building; provided, if there is a limitation based upon available space which would render it unfeasible or dangerous to establish such eight-foot clearance, the cooking device shall be located as far from building structures as safety and feasibility permit.
The user of the cooking device shall take steps necessary to extinguish the heat source immediately following use, e.g., discontinue gas transmission to the device, restrict oxygen source to burning charcoal and the like.
(Ord. No. C-372, § 1, 10-19-92)

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Old 12-02-2016, 10:25 AM
979 posts, read 1,115,239 times
Reputation: 1089
Like said, the intent of most of these suburban burning bans was to prevent people from burning trash, leaves/yard waste, or having massive bonfires in a residential area. In the minds of municipal governments, its was easier to create a blanket ban instead of all these inclusions/exclusions.

The reality is if you use common sense, don't have idiot/overzealous neighbors, and are discrete no one is going to care or say anything.

Granted we had a neighbor down the street in Royal Oak who would routinely have huge bonfires with flames 6-8 ft tall, burning wood pallets, on a tiny 8000 sq ft lot. He never got in trouble and I'm not one to call the city on things for it but it always worried me that he might catch his garage or wood fence on fire. Plus it was obnoxious in the middle of summer to have the smoke coming into our upstairs windows. The guy & his wife was kind of an idiot on all things - parking jacked-up trucks on his yard, drunk all weekend blasting bro-country until 3am , and just an all around annoying people. (They also had 3 kids under the age of 10). They seemed the type of people that would do better with about 10 acres out in the country instead of a postage stamp.lot/bungalow in Royal Oak
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:29 PM
37 posts, read 36,791 times
Reputation: 74
I'm a firefighter nearby, not West Bloomfield. Our community does allow bonfires in UL approved containers/fire pits, under certain conditions. Generally speaking, as long as you are following the rules and no one complains, we aren't looking for you. The problem is all the whiners who complain that they are allergic, the smoke is coming in their window and their cat has asthma, etc. Once we get a complaint, the complaint trumps all. We make the resident put the fire out. If you are a habitual offender, not following the rules or we respond numerous times because you have an unreasonable neighbor who calls repeatedly, we are forced to refer the address to the Fire Marshal for a ticket.
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