City of Watervliet, NY
Albany County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Watervliet 9-3-2009 by Ord. No. 1850. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 135-1 Title.

This chapter shall hereinafter be known and cited as "Outdoor Burning, Open Burning and Burning of Refuse."

§ 135-2 Purpose.

This purpose of this chapter is to promote the public health, safety and welfare and to safeguard the health, comfort, living conditions, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Watervliet due to the air pollution and fire hazards of open burning, outdoor burning and refuse burning.

§ 135-3 Applicability.

A. 
This chapter applies to all outdoor burning, open burning and refuse burning within the City of Watervliet.
B. 
This chapter does not apply to grilling or cooking using charcoal, propane or natural gas in cooking or grilling appliances.
C. 
This chapter does not apply to burning in a stove, furnace, fireplace or other heating device within a building used for human or animal habitation unless the material being burned includes refuse as defined in § 135-4 of this chapter.
D. 
This chapter does not apply to the use of propane, acetylene, natural gas, gasoline or kerosene in a device intended for heating, construction or maintenance activities.

§ 135-4 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The Building Inspector of the City of Watervliet and/or his designee.
BURNING
Open burning, outdoor burning, fire(s), recreational fire(s), and special event fire(s).
CLEAN WOOD
Natural, seasoned, and dry firewood which has not been painted, varnished or coated with a similar material, has not been pressure treated with preservatives and does not contain resins or glues as in plywood or other composite wood products.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Code Enforcement Officer(s) of the City of Watervliet.
FIRE CHIEF
The Chief of the Watervliet Fire Department or other person authorized by the Fire Chief.
GARBAGE
The animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, and serving of food.
OPEN BURNING
Kindling or maintaining a fire where the products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or a chimney.
OUTDOOR BURNING
Open burning or burning in a manufactured freestanding portable outdoor fireplace or manufactured fire pit.
OUTDOOR FIREPLACE or FIRE PIT
A commercially designed and manufactured freestanding portable outdoor fireplace or manufactured fire pit with screens, lids, and spark arrestors having openings of not more than 5/8 inch.
POLICE CHIEF
The Chief of the Watervliet Police Department or other person authorized by the Police Chief.
RECREATIONAL OUTDOOR FIRE
A small outdoor fire on residential property confined to a commercially designed and manufactured freestanding portable outdoor fireplace or manufactured fire pit and in accordance with the requirements of § 135-8 of this chapter.
REFUSE
Solid or liquid waste materials including, but not limited to, rags, furniture, cartons, chemicals, paint, grease, sludges, oils, any petroleum products other than legitimate home heating and cooking products, construction materials including, but not limited to, sheetrock, chip board, asphalt or fiberglass shingles, or pressure treated lumber, automobile parts, tires, dead animals or animal parts, metal goods including, but not limited to, refrigerators, stoves and like appliances, diapers, yard grass clippings, paper and paper products, packaging materials, styrofoam, mattresses, cigarette filters, glass, plastic of any kind and furniture.
SPECIAL EVENT FIRE
A bonfire or any other open air fire kindled to mark a public event, victory celebration or similar occurrence that does not meet the criteria of a residential recreational fire.

§ 135-5 General prohibition on open burning, outdoor burning and refuse burning.

Open burning, outdoor burning and refuse burning are prohibited in the City of Watervliet unless the burning is specifically permitted by this chapter.

§ 135-6 Materials that may not be burned.

The following materials may not be burned in an open fire, outdoor fire, incinerator, burn barrel or indoor and outdoor incineration or heating device.
A. 
Rubbish or garbage including, but not limited to, food wastes, food wraps, packaging, animal carcasses, paint or painted materials, furniture, composite shingles, construction or demolition debris or other household or business wastes.
B. 
Asphalt and products containing asphalt.
C. 
Treated or painted wood including, but not limited to, plywood, composite wood products or other wood products that are painted, varnished or treated with preservatives.
D. 
Any plastic material including, but not limited to, nylon, PVC, ABS, polystyrene or urethane foam, and synthetic fabrics, plastic films and plastic containers.
E. 
Rubber, including tires and synthetic rubber-like products.
F. 
Newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board, office paper and other materials that must be recycled.
G. 
Clothing.
H. 
Biohazard waste products.

§ 135-7 Open and outdoor burning of leaves, brush, clean wood and other vegetative debris.

Open and outdoor burning of leaves, weeds, brush, stumps, clean wood, trees and other vegetative debris is prohibited.

§ 135-8 Restricted residential recreational outdoor fires.

Residential recreational outdoor fires shall be allowed, provided that it is not contrary to any state law, rule or regulation, under the following regulations:
A. 
In addition to the requirements of § 135-6 above, the burning of lumber, pallets, wooden shingles, scrap wood, brush, tree trimmings, leaves, yard waste, cardboard, paper, garbage, and other similar items is not permitted.
B. 
Burning shall be conducted in a safe nuisance-free manner, when wind and weather conditions are such as to minimize adverse effects and not create a health hazard or a visibility hazard on residential and commercial property and roadways. Burning shall be conducted in conformance with all local and state fire protection regulations.
C. 
The fire must be constantly attended and supervised by a competent adult of at least 18 years of age or older until the fire has been completely extinguished. Fires must be extinguished to the point of cold before being left unattended.
D. 
A means of extinguishing the fire (i.e., water hose, water in container or fire hose) must be readily available. Adequate fire protection shall be on site for extinguishing purposes at all times during burning.
E. 
Fires must be contained in a commercially designed and manufactured freestanding portable outdoor fireplace or manufactured fire pit with screens, lids, and spark arrestors having openings of not more than 5/8 inch and constructed of noncombustible materials and put together and used in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions and shall not exceed three feet in diameter.
F. 
Fires contained in a freestanding outdoor fireplace or fire pit must be located a minimum of 25 feet away from any structure, building or combustible materials including, but not limited to, houses, garages, sheds, patios, fences, decks, and woodpiles.
G. 
Fires contained in a freestanding outdoor fireplace or fire pit must be located a minimum of 20 feet of any property line.
H. 
The area in which the commercially designed and manufactured freestanding portable fireplace or manufactured fire pit to be used is located shall have a surface area of gravel, cinders, cement or similar incombustible material.
I. 
The fire shall be not more than two feet by two feet by two feet in dimension and shall not burn longer than three hours.
J. 
Fires shall only be conducted between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
K. 
Fuel for the fire shall consist only of natural, seasoned, and dry firewood and shall be ignited with a small quantity of paper. Trash, rubbish, treated wood, furniture, scrap building materials, leaves and other similar combustible materials shall not be burned.
L. 
Fires shall not be ignited with oil, gas, petroleum product or any other flammable or combustible liquid accelerant.
M. 
The fire shall not be used for waste disposal purposes.
N. 
Consent of the property owner is required for all residential outdoor open burning.
O. 
Fires are not permitted on windy days when the smoke may create a nuisance for nearby neighbors.
P. 
Fires are not permitted on commercial or industrial sites or sites with construction activities.
Q. 
No burning shall be conducted during unfavorable meteorological conditions, including, but not limited to, temperature inversions, high winds, and extremely dry conditions.
R. 
A safe area of at least 10 feet will be maintained around the fire.
S. 
Fires are not allowed when the Fire Chief or his/her designee has duly posted a fire prohibition.
T. 
The Fire Chief or his/her designee is authorized, in his/her discretion, to order that a fire be immediately extinguished under the following circumstances:
(1) 
The fire is left unattended.
(2) 
The fire is in the care and control of a person under the age of 18 years of age.
(3) 
The fire is being used in a hazardous condition or constitutes a hazardous condition.
(4) 
No method of fire extinguishment is at hand.
(5) 
Persons in control of the fire are, in the opinion of the Fire Chief or his/her designee, incapable of controlling the fire.
(6) 
The fire poses a nuisance to surrounding residences and commercial property.
(7) 
The fire generates embers that pose a property hazard to property or generates smoke or odors that unreasonably interfere with the use or enjoyment of neighboring property owners.
(8) 
The fire, in the opinion of the Fire Chief or his/her designee, is offensive or objectionable due to smoke or odor emissions when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fire a hazardous condition or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation.
(9) 
The fire is not in compliance with any other section of this chapter.

§ 135-9 Special event fires.

Special event fires shall be allowed, provided that it is not contrary to any state law, rule or regulation, under the following regulations:
A. 
No person shall kindle or maintain any special event fire without a permit and approval and authorization must be obtained from the Fire Chief or his/her designee.
B. 
B. Permitted special event fires shall be located not less than 50 feet from any structure.
C. 
The allowable quantity to be burned shall be determined by the Fire Chief or his/her designee based upon the fire safety considerations of the situation and the desired duration of the burn.
D. 
The duration of the special event fire shall be approved and authorized by the Fire Chief or his/her designee.
E. 
Material that can be burned shall be in accordance with §§ 135-6, 135-7, and 135-8 of this chapter.
F. 
A competent adult of at least 18 years of age or older shall be designated for the safety of the special event fire area. This person must be identified as the contact person to meet with the Fire Department for any issue pertaining to the special event fire.
G. 
The base of the fire shall not be larger than 10 feet in diameter. The fire must be enclosed by a barrier set at a distance sufficient enough to provide maximum safety and be constantly monitored by the person responsible for scene security.
H. 
The Fire Chief or his/her designee has the authority to impose any other restriction and/or safety precaution pertaining to the special event fire and such shall be complied with at all times.
I. 
An adequate fire suppression source must be immediately available sufficient to extinguish the fire it is threatens the safety of the event.
J. 
After completion of the event and/or celebration, the fire must be completely extinguished and a fire watch must be provided for a sufficient amount of time to ensure that the fire does not rekindle.
K. 
The Fire Chief or his/her designee is authorized in his/her discretion to order that a special event fire be immediately extinguished in accordance with § 135-8T of this chapter.

§ 135-10 Burn barrels.

No person shall use or maintain a burn barrel in the City of Watervliet.

§ 135-11 Liability.

A person utilizing or maintaining an outdoor fire shall be responsible for all fire suppression costs and any other liability resulting from damage caused by the fire.

§ 135-12 Right of entry and inspection.

In any situation where an outdoor fire utilized or maintained by a person poses an imminent danger to public health, safety, and welfare, the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer, Police Officer and Fire Department personnel may enter onto the property and inspect any property for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 135-13 Enforcement.

A. 
The Fire Chief, Police Chief, Building Inspector, and Code Enforcement Officer and his/her designees are authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
The Fire Chief, Police Chief, Building Inspector, and Code Enforcement Officer are authorized to issue appearance tickets for a violation of this chapter as provided in Article 150, § 150.10, of the Penal Law of the State of New York.

§ 135-14 Penalties for offenses.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, General Penalty. Any person causing any fire damage to any person or property by any violation of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, General Penalty.

§ 135-15 Severability.

If any section or specific part or provision or standard of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance be adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the part, provision or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this chapter or the application thereof to other person or circumstances, and the City Council hereby declares that it would have enacted this chapter or the remainder thereof had the invalidity of such provision or application thereof been apparent. If any section of this chapter is found by a court to be invalid for an reason, the decision of the court shall not affect the validity of any other section, provision or standard of this chapter except the provision in questions. The other sections of this chapter not affected by the decision of the court shall remain in full force and effect.