Township of Tobyhanna, PA
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Tobyhanna as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Solid waste — See Ch. 119.
[Adopted 12-21-1998 by Ord. No. 405]
This article shall be known as the "Tobyhanna Township Burn Ordinance."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BURNING PERMIT
A permit to kindle or maintain such open fires or other fires. The permit shall be issued, for the Board of Supervisors, by the Tobyhanna Township Secretary upon application thereof made to the Secretary or a designated person. A burning permit is valid for one day only. A fee for each burning permit, as established by the Board of Supervisors, shall be charged.
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire contained in an incinerator, fireplace or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking, or a fireproof container.
CONTROLLED FIRE
Any fire not included in the definition of "contained fire."
FURNACE
Any enclosed device specifically designed for burning any material for the production of heat.
GARBAGE
All putrescible animal and vegetable matter resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
INCINERATOR/NONCOMBUSTIBLE CONTAINER
Any device specifically designed for the destruction by burning of refuse, sewage sludge or any combustible material.
OPEN FIRE
A fire in which any material is burned in the open or in a receptacle other than a furnace or incinerator.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, department, bureau, agency or legal entity.
REFUSE
Garbage, rubbish and trade waste.
RESPONSIBLE ADULT
An individual 18 years or older who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from any other disability which would impair his or her ability to properly supervise a fire.
RUBBISH
Solids not considered to be highly flammable or explosive, including but not limited to rags, old clothes, leather, rubber, carpets, excelsior, ashes, furniture, tin cans, glass, crockery, masonry, plastics, recyclable items and other similar items.
SALVAGE OPERATIONS
Any business, trade or industry engaged in whole or in part in salvaging or reclaiming any product or material, including but not limited to metals, chemicals, shipping containers or drums.
TRADE WASTE
All solid or liquid material or rubbish resulting from construction, building operations or the prosecution of any business, trade or industry, including but not limited to plastic products, cartons, paint, grease, oil and other petroleum products, chemicals, cinders and other forms of solid or liquid waste materials, provided that trade waste shall not include any coal refuse associated with mining or preparation of coal.
A. 
Burning is allowed without a permit during the following time specifications:
Days
Hours Permitted
Monday through Friday
4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday
8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sundays
Prohibited
B. 
Every contained fire or controlled burn shall be built in and confined to a noncombustible container covered with a screen of one-half-inch or smaller mesh, or with other suitable noncombustible cover, and shall not be permitted closer than 25 feet from any building.
C. 
A burning permit is required for all burning to occur at any times other than those specified in the above subsection. The burning permit is valid for one burn only. The cost of the permit fee shall be set by resolution of the Tobyhanna Township Supervisors.
D. 
The following are exceptions:
(1) 
Fire used for the burning of waste generated by clearing and grubbing prior to construction, as long as smoke odors, ash or sparks and embers do not cross onto other properties.
(2) 
Fire set in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities in their unmanufactured state on the premises of the farm operation.
(3) 
Fire set solely for recreational or ceremonial purposes, or used only for cooking.
(4) 
Fire set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and set by or under the supervision of a public officer.
(5) 
Fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in fire fighting.
(6) 
Fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests.
(7) 
Prescribed controlled fire for the conservation and management of unique and natural areas and/or for the reduction of fuel loads.
(8) 
Fire used as a management technique for preventing wildfires; scientific research; or vegetation management.
E. 
All fires shall be attended to at all times by a responsible adult with readily available means of extinguishing the fire.
F. 
Fire must be extinguished thoroughly with no smoldering.
G. 
No burning is allowed during a fire ban emergency, as proclaimed by Monroe County Emergency Management or Tobyhanna Township.
A. 
Burning of construction debris, aerosol cans, by-products of manufacturing and processing operations and wastes from commercial operations is strictly prohibited.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to permit or encourage the burning of any substance determined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be a hazardous substance; nor shall any fire be permitted to burn by any persons if such burning is in violation of the Air Pollution Control Act[1] or other legislation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America or any of their legislative agencies.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 4001 et seq.
C. 
Fires shall be used only to burn readily combustible materials.
A. 
The Tobyhanna Township Supervisors may declare a fire ban emergency in the township, with or without consultation with the Fire Chiefs of the volunteer fire companies operating within the township, during periods of drought or other periods of high fire risk to woodlands or property within the township.
B. 
Upon Tobyhanna Township declaring a fire ban emergency, all outdoor burning or fires shall be prohibited until the ban is lifted by the township.
C. 
The township shall publish a notice of the fire ban emergency at least once in a local newspaper of general circulation. In addition, the township may issue news releases to all communication media, including radio, television and newspapers.
The Tobyhanna Township Supervisors shall appoint the Zoning Officer who shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this chapter, or, in the absence of the Zoning Officer, a Pocono Mountain Regional Police Officer.
It shall be unlawful to burn, ignite, incinerate, maintain or otherwise permit the burning of any materials whatsoever without complying with the requirements of this chapter. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought in the name of the township before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 and the costs of prosecution and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term of not to exceed 90 days, provided that each day's violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.
A. 
In the case of a fire requiring fire fighters and/or equipment, and upon conviction of any violation of this chapter, the violator shall also pay charges in order to cover the fire-fighting costs. Charges shall be assessed for use of the following fire-fighting equipment:
(1) 
Pumpers and tankers.
(2) 
Brush busters. Brush busters are all-wheel-drive vehicles equipped for off-road or wooded-area use with a water tank of at least 500 gallons' capacity and an appropriately sized pump.
(3) 
Chain saws.
B. 
Additional labor charges shall be assessed under this chapter based upon an hourly rate for all firemen engaged in the fire-fighting activities.
C. 
The Tobyhanna Township Supervisors shall determine by resolution a reasonable schedule of costs based upon mileage, operating costs and fire-fighting equipment and man hours. These charges shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any penalties provided elsewhere in this chapter.
Tobyhanna 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 issuance of any permit under the provisions of this chapter, or by reason of the conduct of any burning activity in compliance or noncompliance with the terms and provisions hereof. The person, persons, company or companies responsible for any such fire and the permit holder shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.
[Adopted 10-13-2008 by Ord. No. 472]
This article shall be known as the "Tobyhanna Township Outdoor Wood-Fired Burner/Furnace Ordinance."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CLEAN WOOD
Wood that does not have paint, stains or other types of coatings and wood that has not been treated with substances, including, but not limited to, copper arsenate, creosote or pontachlorophenol and wood pellets made from clean wood.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Zoning Officer or other person appointed by the Board of Supervisors to administer and enforce this article, whose duties shall include responding to resident questions and complaints and performing other tasks as the Board of Supervisors may assign.
EXISTING OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED BURNER/FURNACE
An outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace that was purchased and installed prior to the effective date of this article.
OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED BURNER/FURNACE
A fuel-burning device designed to burn wood or other manufacturer-approved fuel product that is manufactured specifically for outdoor installation, or installation in structures not normally occupied by humans, and further designed to heat building space and/or water via the distribution, typically through pipes, of a fluid heated in the device, typically water or a water/antifreeze mixture.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, institution, cooperative enterprise, municipality, municipal authority, governmental entity or agency, or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law.
STACK or CHIMNEY
Any vertical structure enclosing a flue or flues that carry off smoke or exhaust from a solid-fuel-fired heating device or structure, including that part of the structure extending above a roof.
A. 
Any person desiring to install an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace within Tobyhanna Township shall obtain a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer and shall pay a permit fee set by the Board of Supervisors by resolution prior to installing an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace.
B. 
Prior to July 1 of each calendar year, the owner of the lot upon which an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace is located shall apply for an operating permit which shall be valid for the period from July 1 through June 30 of the following calendar year. The owner shall pay all fees imposed by Tobyhanna Township for the application for such operating permit and the inspection of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace to determine compliance with this article.
A. 
A permit issued pursuant to this article may be suspended as the Code Enforcement Officer or other person appointed by the Board of Supervisors to administer and enforce this article may determine to be necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of Tobyhanna Township if any of the following conditions occur:
(1) 
Malodorous air contaminants from the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace are detectable outside the property of the person on whose land the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace is located;
(2) 
The emissions from the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of life on neighboring property;
(3) 
The emissions from the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace caused damage to vegetation on neighboring property;
(4) 
The emissions from the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace are or may be harmful to human or animal health; or
(5) 
The burning of any material otherwise prohibited within this article.
B. 
A suspended permit may be reinstated once the condition which resulted in suspension is remedied and reasonable assurances are given that such condition will not recur. Recurrence of a condition which has previously resulted in suspension of a permit shall be considered a violation of this article and subject to the penalties provided within the article.
Any outdoor wood-fired burners/furnaces in existence on the effective date of this article shall be permitted to remain, provided that the owner applies for and receives a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer within one year of the effective date of this article. If the owner of an existing outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace does not receive a permit within one year of the effective date of this article, the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace shall be removed and thereafter subject to all of the regulations provided for in this article.
A. 
Any person desiring to install an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace within the municipality shall obtain a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. The applicant for such a permit shall meet the following requirements.
(1) 
Present a plan showing all property lines, locations and distances of all dwellings or occupied buildings on adjoining properties and the proposed location of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace.
(2) 
Locate the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace at least 250 feet from any occupied structure not located on the lot on which the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace will be located.
(3) 
Locate the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace at least 150 feet from all property lines.
(4) 
Present documentation on the stack or chimney for the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace. The outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace shall have a stack or chimney that extends to a minimum height of the residential structure roof peak of which the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace is servicing, plus an additional two feet. If there are any other residential structures within 250 feet of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace, the stack or chimney shall extend at least as high above the ground surface as the height of the roof peaks of all such residences, plus an additional two feet. The maximum height of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace stack or chimney shall not exceed 50 feet and shall not exceed the maximum height requirement in that specific zoning district. Should a new residential structure be built, or an existing residential structure modified within the radius of 250 feet, the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace stack or chimney height shall be raised to match the height of the new or modified structure, up to the maximum height indicated above.
(5) 
Present evidence that the applicant has obtained a building code permit as required by this article for the installation of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace and show its connection to the mechanical system of the structure it will serve.
(6) 
Provide a copy of the manufacturer's specifications and instructions, which the applicant agrees to comply with and not alter at any time.
(7) 
Demonstrate that the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace has been laboratory tested and listed to comply with appropriate safety standards such as UL (Underwriters' Laboratories) or ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards.
(8) 
All outdoor wood-fired burners/furnaces shall be equipped with properly functioning spark arresters.
(9) 
The application shall be signed by all owners of the lot on which the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace will be located and the contractor installing the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace.
If an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace is replaced or upgraded, a permit shall be required pursuant to this article and shall comply with all sections of this article.
A. 
The only substance that may be burned in an outdoor wood-tired burner/furnace is clean wood.
B. 
No person shall burn any of the following in an outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace:
(1) 
Any wood that does meet the definition of "clean wood."
(2) 
Tires.
(3) 
Lawn clippings or yard waste.
(4) 
Rubbish or garbage, including, but not limited to, food wastes, food packaging or food wraps.
(5) 
Materials containing plastic.
(6) 
Materials containing rubber.
(7) 
Waste petroleum products.
(8) 
Paint and paint thinners.
(9) 
Any type of paper cardboard.
(10) 
Construction/demolition debris (such as shingles).
(11) 
Plywood or other composite wood products.
(12) 
Particleboard.
(13) 
Manure.
(14) 
Animal carcasses.
(15) 
Asphalt products.
(16) 
Used cooking oils.
C. 
The outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace shall at all times be operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
D. 
The outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace shall be maintained and operated in compliance with all emissions and air quality standards promulgated by the United States Environmental Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and all other relevant state and/or federal agencies.
E. 
Any ash or other by-products from the operation of the outdoor wood-fired burner/furnace shall be disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws.
[Amended 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 479]
Outdoor wood-fired burners/furnaces may be operated year round unless otherwise restricted by the Township.
A. 
Enforcement Officer. The Board of Supervisors shall appoint an individual, agency or firm to serve as the Enforcement Officer who shall be responsible for enforcing the terms of this article.
B. 
Duties of Enforcement Officer.
(1) 
Inspection. The Enforcement Officer, and any other individual representing the Township of Tobyhanna whose presence is necessary to complete the inspection, may inspect any premises, building or structure in accordance with this article to determine whether or not a violation of this article exists.
(2) 
Action. Whenever an inspection discloses a violation of this article, the Enforcement Officer shall prepare a report detailing the violation and a recommendation regarding how the violation can be corrected.
(3) 
Hearing appearance. The Enforcement Officer shall appear at all hearings conducted in accordance with this article and testify as to the violation.
C. 
Inspection; permission. The Enforcement Officer, and any other agent so authorized by the Board of Supervisors, may inspect any premises to determine whether any violations of this article exist. Duly authorized representatives of the Township of Tobyhanna may enter at reasonable times any property within the Township to investigate or ascertain the condition of the subject property in regard to any aspect regulated by this article.
D. 
Notice of violation. Whenever an inspection discloses that a violation of this article exists, the Enforcement Officer shall issue a notice of violation to the owner and/or occupant of the premises. The notice shall:
(1) 
Be in writing;
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued;
(3) 
Contain a copy of the Enforcement Officer's inspection report detailing the conditions constituting the violation, contain an outline of the remedial action required to come into compliance with this article and state a reasonable time to rectify the violation;
(4) 
Inform the owner of the right to request a hearing before the Board of Supervisors as set forth in this article;
(5) 
Inform the owner/occupant that should there be a failure to comply with the notice or request a hearing, the individual will be subject to the penalties set forth in this article and the costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees, of enforcing the terms of this article; and
(6) 
Except in emergency cases, a notice shall be sent by registered mail or by certified mail or personally delivered to the owner and/or occupant of the premises upon which the violation exists. Where the owner is absent from the Township of Tobyhanna, all notices shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy of the notice is served upon the owner personally, a copy of the notice is sent by registered mail or by certified mail to the last known address of the owner, regardless of proof of receipt, and is posted in a conspicuous place on or about the premises affected by the notice, or the owner is served with such notice by any other method authorized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
E. 
Emergency cases. Whenever the Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety and welfare, he/she may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such immediate action be taken as is necessary to correct the violation and eliminate the emergency.
F. 
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this article, such order shall be effective immediately.
G. 
Hearings.
(1) 
Right to hearing. Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in accordance with the enforcement of any provision of this article, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Board of Supervisors, provided that such person file a written request for the hearing within 10 days after service of the notice. The request shall contain a brief statement regarding the reasons for the request.
(2) 
Scheduling and conduct of the hearing. Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, a time and place for the hearing shall be scheduled and advertised in accordance with applicable municipal requirements. All hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the Local Agency Act.[1] The hearing shall be scheduled not later than 60 days after the day on which the request was received. At the hearing, the person requesting the hearing shall be given the opportunity to be heard and show cause why the violation described in the notice should not be abated.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. § 105 et seq.
(3) 
Tobyhanna Township action. After such hearing, the Board of Supervisors shall issue a written decision sustaining the notice, modifying the notice and/or attaching conditions, or withdrawing the notice. If the Board of Supervisors sustains the notice, it shall be deemed to be a final order effective immediately.
(4) 
Right to appeal. Any aggrieved party may appeal the final order to the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County in accordance with the provisions of the Local Agency Act.[2] Such appeal shall not constitute a stay from the requirements of the final order unless an order to that effect is obtained from the court.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. § 105 et seq.
(5) 
Fees. The person requesting the hearing shall pay the fee for such hearing as may be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
H. 
Remedies and penalties. Any person who has violated or permitted a violation of any provisions of this article shall, upon judgment thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100, nor more than $1,000 for each day the violation exists after notice from Tobyhanna Township, together with the costs of the suit and/or shall be committed to the Monroe County prison for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day of violation shall be a separate offense for which a separate conviction may be sought. All judgments, costs, interests and reasonable attorneys' fees collected for a violation of this article shall be paid over to Tobyhanna Township. In addition to fines, judgments, costs and/or imprisonment remedies set forth above, the Township reserves the right to pursue all other available remedies at law or in equity under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Tobyhanna 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 issuance of any permit under the provisions of this article or by reason of the conduct of any burning activity in compliance with the terms and provisions of this article. The person or party responsible for any such burning activities shall bear sole responsibility of any damages caused as a result thereof.