Township of Lower Macungie, PA
Lehigh County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 1]
This Part shall be known as the "Lower Macungie Township Burn Ordinance."
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 2]
It is against public policy to permit irresponsible, careless, uncontrolled and unrestricted outdoor burning. The purpose of this Part is to prevent damage to life and property, which occur as a result of irresponsible, careless, uncontrolled and unrestricted outdoor burning and open flames.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 3]
APPROVED CONTAINER
A non-combustible container or enclosure engineered or designed for outdoor use such as a chiminea, outdoor fireplace, fire pit or similar type of container that can be purchased at local retailers. Any openings in the container must be covered with a wire mesh or other screening material that will prevent the passage of sparks and embers.
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire that is contained in a fireplace, cooking grill or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking or heating purposes, and/or a fireplace container.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, any officer of the Lower Macungie Fire Department, the Fire Inspector and any other Lower Macungie Township Code Enforcement official shall be designated as enforcement officers pursuant to this Part.
FIRE PIT
A fire pit includes, but is not limited to, below ground pits, freestanding fireplaces, and portable devices intended to contain and control outdoor fires. Below ground fire pits shall be at least four inches in depth and shall be surrounded on the outside, above ground, by a non-combustible material such as steel, brick or masonry. The fire pit cannot exceed three feet in diameter, nor may the height exceed two feet in height. Fire pits shall only be used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and restrictions with this Part.
OPEN FIRE
Any fire outside a building or structure including, but not limited to, any fire maintained in containers, enclosures, barrels or devices commonly known as "burn barrels." Open fires include brush fires and field fires that are not confined by any type of container.
OUTDOOR FOOD PREPARATION EQUIPMENT
Any and all appliances or equipment used for the sole purpose of food preparation that utilize charcoal, natural gas, or liquefied petroleum as a fuel or heat source. This equipment must comply with the provisions of this Part.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, syndicate, company, firm, trust, corporation, department, bureau, agency, or other entity recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
A strip of land acquired by reservation, dedication, forced dedication, prescription, or condemnation and intended to be occupied by a road, crosswalk, railroad, electric transmission lines, oil or gas pipeline, water line, sanitary storm sewer and other similar uses.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 4]
1. 
General. The enforcement officer is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this Part and shall have the authority to render interpretations of this Part, and to adopt policies, procedures, rules and regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies, procedures, rules and regulations shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this Part and shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this Part.
2. 
Applications and Permits. The enforcement officer is authorized to receive applications, review and issue permits for fires regulated by this Part, issue permits for operations regulated by this Part, inspect the premises for which such permits have been issued and enforce compliance with the provisions of this Part.
3. 
Right of Entry. Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this Part, or whenever the enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a building or upon any premises any conditions or violations of this Part which make the building or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to enter the building or premises at all reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed upon the enforcement officer by this Part. If such building or premises is occupied, the enforcement officer shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry. If such building or premises is unoccupied, the enforcement officer shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the enforcement officer has recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry.
4. 
Notices and Orders. The enforcement officer is authorized to issue such notices or orders as are required to affect compliance with this Part.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 5]
1. 
Permit Required. A permit shall be obtained from the enforcement officer prior to kindling a fire for recognized silvicultural or range or wildlife management practices, prevention or control of disease or pests, or a bonfire. Application for such approval shall only be presented by and permits issued to the owner of the land upon which the fire is to be kindled. Such permission shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside any of the provisions of this Part or other applicable regulations or laws of the jurisdiction. A permit shall not be issued until the fees have been paid, nor shall an amendment to a permit be released until the additional fee, if any, has been paid.
2. 
Application. Application for a permit required by this Part shall be made to the enforcement officer in such form and detail as prescribed by the enforcement officer. Applications for permits shall be accompanied by such plans as prescribed by the enforcement officer.
3. 
Revocation. The enforcement officer is authorized to revoke a permit issued under the provisions of this Part when it is found by inspection or otherwise that there has been a false statement or misrepresentation as to the material facts in the application on which the permit or approval was based including, but not limited to, any one of the following:
A. 
The permit is used for a location or establishment other than that for which it was issued.
B. 
The permit is used for a condition or activity other than that listed in the permit.
C. 
Conditions and limitations set forth in the permit have been violated.
D. 
There have been any false statements or misrepresentations as to the material facts in the application for permit or plans submitted or a condition of the permit.
E. 
The permit is used by a different person or firm other than the name for which it was issued.
F. 
The permittee failed, refused or neglected to comply with orders or notices duly served in accordance with the provisions of this Part within the time provided therein.
G. 
The permit was issued in error or in violation of an ordinance or other Township regulation.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 6]
1. 
A person shall not kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open burning unless conducted and approved in accordance with this Part. All approved open fires must be maintained in accordance with the following restrictions:
A. 
The open fire must be attended at all times by a person over the age of 18, the site of the fire shall be controlled as to prevent endangerment to property or person, and the site of the fire shall not exceed 400 square feet.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire on lots that are less than one acre in size.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire that is maintained or kindled in container enclosures such as barrels, incinerators, and/or devices commonly known as burn barrels.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire without providing the Township with notice prior to igniting said fire.
E. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
F. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire less than 50 feet from any building, structure, dwelling and/or aboveground utility line.
(1) 
Exceptions:
(a) 
Fires in approved containers that are not less than 15 feet from a structure.
(b) 
The minimum required distance from a structure shall be 25 feet where the pile size is three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height.
G. 
Provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure.
H. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire less than 100 feet from any right-of-way or property boundary line.
I. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire whenever drought or extreme weather conditions exist or when a ban on burning has been instituted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Notice of such restriction shall be posted at the Township fire department and the Township building.
J. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, ignite or feed any open fire any materials which create noxious or objectionable emissions, or any materials that are prohibited by state and/or federal regulations, including, but not limited to:
(1) 
Tires or other rubber products.
(2) 
Roof shingles or other roofing materials.
(3) 
Treated wood.
(4) 
Electrical wire insulations.
(5) 
Fiberglass and home insulation.
(6) 
Plastic and vinyl products.
(7) 
Asbestos containing materials.
(8) 
Paint, oil and petroleum products.
(9) 
Painted or stained wood furniture.
(10) 
Mattresses, box springs and/or other home furnishings.
(11) 
Any metal objects.
(12) 
Television sets or appliances.
(13) 
Automobiles, automobile parts, including batteries.
(14) 
Diapers.
(15) 
Human and animal wastes.
(16) 
Animal hides, furs or skins.
(17) 
Dirt laden roots or tree stumps.
(18) 
Rubbish or garbage.
(19) 
Recyclable material.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 7]
It shall be unlawful to bum, ignite, incinerate, maintain or permit to burn any open fire, of whatever nature, without complying with this Part.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 8]
The Township enforcement officer may extinguish or direct any property owner or person in charge of an open fire to immediately extinguish said open fire if the open fire is in violation of this Part and/or is deemed a threat to the safety of persons and property by the enforcement officer.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 9]
The enforcement official is authorized to order the extinguishment by the permit holder and/or another person responsible for open burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation. The enforcement official may authorize the fire department to extinguish the prohibited fire in the event that said fire is beyond the scope and ability of the responsible party and/or property owner to extinguish said fire.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 1]
1. 
Notice of Violation. When the enforcement officer finds a building, premises, vehicle, storage facility or outdoor area that is in violation of this Part, the enforcement officer shall prepare a written notice of violation describing the conditions deemed unsafe and, when compliance is not immediate, specifying a time for reinspection.
2. 
Criminal Penalties. Upon notice of violation and failure to immediately comply, any person who violates any provision of this Part commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction therefore before any magisterial district justice, be sentenced to pay a fine or penalty of not less than $100 or more than $2,500 for each separate offense, plus costs and, in default of the payment of such fine, may be sentenced to imprisonment for 90 days for each separate offense. Agents and employees of the Township authorized to conduct inspections or investigations are hereby declared to be enforcement officers authorized to issue or file citations for summary violations of this Part, and the Township Solicitor is hereby authorized to prosecute theses offenses.
3. 
Civil Penalties and Remedies. In addition to all other enforcement remedies, the Township may file an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against any person for any and all costs, expenses, damages and penalties for which the person may be liable under this Part.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 1]
In the event that fire department response is authorized for the containment and extinguishing of a fire created in violation of this Part, the property owner will be assessed a $500 fee to defray personnel and equipment costs incurred by the Township. This fee is in addition to the penalties set forth in § 10-410 above.
[Ord. 2012-10, 11/15/2012, § 12]
The Township and its agents, officials and representatives shall not, under any circumstances, be liable or responsible for damages caused to any person or property by reason of the provisions of this Part, or by reason of any burning activity in compliance with this Part. The person responsible for any such fire shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.