Town of Colchester, CT
New London County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Colchester 12-14-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Ordinance enforcement — See Ch. 93.
Pursuant to C.G.S. § 22a-174, the town adopts the following open burning ordinance.
As used in this chapter, the following words or phrases shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICANT
The person making the open burning certificate application and who will be responsible for the open burning.
BRUSH
Shrubs, vegetation or prunings, the diameter of which is not greater than three inches at the widest point.
BUILDING
Any structure that is enclosed by a roof and walls.
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, or his or her designee.
DEP
The State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
NUISANCE
The discharge into the open air of any smoke, soot, dust, fumes, odors or other emissions which cause injury, detriment or annoyance or which endanger the comfort, repose, health or safety of the public or which cause, or are likely to cause, injury or damage to business or property.
OPEN BURNING
The ignition of, causing to be ignited, permitting to be ignited or maintenance of a fire outside the confines of a building.
OPEN BURNING CERTIFICATE
A certificate issued by the open burning official in accordance with this chapter, § 22a-174 and the regulations.
OPEN BURNING CERTIFICATE APPLICATION
An application for an open burning made on the form furnished by the open burning official, which form shall, at a minimum, name the person responsible for the open burning, list his or her address, list his or her telephone number, explain the purpose of the open burning, explain the type and quantity of materials to be burned and list the address of the property at which the open burning shall take place.
OPEN BURNING OFFICIAL
Such official who has been nominated, certified and serves in accordance with § 22a-174 and the regulations.
OPEN BURNING REGISTRATION
Verbal registration which is made to the open burning official of an open burning enumerated in § 91-5 of this chapter 24 hours prior to the ignition of such open burning.
REGULATIONS
Those Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies enacted pursuant to § 22a-174, as amended.
SECTION 22a-174
Section 22a-174 of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended.
No open burning shall be allowed except as specifically provided in this chapter.
A. 
The following types of open burning shall be allowed only after an applicant obtains an open burning certificate:
(1) 
The open burning of brush on residential property. The applicant must be a resident or an authorized agent of a resident of the property where the open burning will occur. The open burning official, in his or her discretion, may require proof of residency or proof that the applicant is an authorized agent of a resident.
(2) 
Fire-training exercises.
(3) 
Eradication or control of insect infestations or disease.
(4) 
Agricultural purposes.
(5) 
Clearing vegetative debris following a natural disaster.
(6) 
Vegetative management or enhancement of wildlife habitat or ecological sustainability on town property or on any privately owned property permanently dedicated as open space.
(7) 
Any other type of fire that is described in § 22a-174 or the Regulations.
B. 
The following conditions shall be placed on all open burning certificates:
(1) 
Open burning must take place between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. No visible embers, flame or smoke may be present after 5:00 p.m.
(2) 
Open burning shall only be permitted on sunny or partly sunny days when the wind speed is five to 15 miles per hour, except that fire-training exercises shall not be subject to this condition.
(3) 
The open burning of brush may only occur on residential property that contains one or two residential units.
(4) 
The applicant must keep a copy of the open burning certificate in his or her possession at the time of the open burning.
(5) 
The applicant must call the open burning official or such other person listed on the open burning certificate 24 hours prior to the ignition of the open burning and leave the applicant's name, telephone number, the specific time of and the location of the open burning.
(6) 
Any other conditions required to be imposed by § 22a-174 or the regulations.
C. 
The open burning official may issue such further conditions to an open burning certificate, either at the time of issuance of the open burning certificate or afterwards, as are necessary to avoid a nuisance or to protect the health, safety and comfort of the public, relating to the following:
(1) 
The materials and quantifies to be burned.
(2) 
The hours and days during which open burning is allowed.
(3) 
Any other conditions allowed under § 22a-174 or the Regulations.
D. 
An open burning certificate is applicable only for the occasion and purpose outlined in such open burning certificate. The open burning certificate may be revoked in writing by the open burning official or the Commissioner for violation of any provision of this chapter, § 22a-174 or the regulations.
The following type of open burning shall be allowed only after a person makes an open burning registration: any campfires or bonfires that exceed four feet in any direction.
The following types of open burning shall be allowed without the need for an open burning certificate or open burning registration:
A. 
Barbecues or other similar outdoor fires, which fires are for the cooking of food for human consumption.
B. 
Campfires, bonfires or other types of fires made out of nonprocessed wood for recreational or ceremonial purposes, provided that the size of such fires does not exceed four feet in any direction.
C. 
Fires in "salamanders" or other similar devices used by construction or other workers for heating purposes, which fires are used for street installation or paving activities, the repairing of utilities or other similar work.
D. 
Fire breaks for the purpose of controlling forest fires, provided that fire personnel do it.
E. 
Controlled fires in salt water marshes to forestall uncontrolled fires, provided that they are done by fire personnel.
F. 
My fire specifically exempted from such requirements in § 22a-174 or the Regulations.
The following types of open burning shall be allowed only after a permit from the Fire Marshal is obtained in accordance with § 22a-174 and the Regulations: the open burning of brush in municipal landfills, transfer stations and municipal recycling centers in the town.
Certain types of open burning require the issuance of a permit by the Commissioner; such types are enumerated in the Connecticut General Statutes and the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.
Under no circumstances is the following allowed, and constitutes a violation under this chapter:
A. 
No weeds, grass, leaves, processed wood, garbage, paper, metals, plastics, rubber, painted materials, man-made waste or demolition waste shall be burned.
B. 
No open burning of brush shall occur when national or state ambient air quality standards may be exceeded.
C. 
No open burning of brush shall occur where a hazardous health condition might be created.
D. 
No open burning shall occur when the forest fire danger in the area is identified by the Commissioner as extreme, and where woodland or grassland is within 100 feet of the proposed open burning.
E. 
No open burning of brush shall occur when there is an advisory from the Commissioner of any air pollution episode.
F. 
No open burning is allowed within the limits of any public road or public right-of-way.
G. 
No open burning of brush shall occur on commercial or industrial properties, vacant lots or on properties that contain multifamily residential units.
The following conditions are imposed on all open burning:
A. 
No open burning shall create a nuisance.
B. 
A responsible adult shall tend to the open burning at all times.
C. 
Suitable fire-extinguishing equipment must be in close proximity and available at the time of the open burning.
D. 
The open burning must be a minimum of 25 feet from any property line and 25 feet from any building, except that barbecues or other similar outdoor fires shall not be subject to this condition.
E. 
No open burning shall be allowed to burn out of control so as to require the response of fire personnel and/or apparatus. The Fire Chief or Fire Marshal shall make the determination that a fire has been allowed to burn out of control.
The Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or any officer of the Fire Department, the Director of Health, or his or her designee, or any police officer may require any person who ignites or maintains an open burning in violation of the provisions of this chapter to extinguish such open burning. Failure to extinguish such open burning shall be a violation under this chapter.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the following penalties and fines:
A. 
Fines:
(1) 
First offense or violation: $25.
(2) 
Second or subsequent offense or violation: $100 for each separate violation and each day of continued violation.
B. 
The open burning official may seek enforcement of the provisions of this chapter by injunction and, in such event, the violator shall pay the town's reasonable attorney's fees.
C. 
The provisions of Chapter 93, Ordinance Enforcement, shall otherwise apply to this chapter.
D. 
Any and all remedies which the town has in enforcing this chapter, at law or in equity, shall be cumulative, and two or more or all of such remedies may be exercised at the same time.