When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners heard from a resident who opposes a proposed ban on burning in barrels within the city limits.

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners heard from a resident who opposes a proposed ban on burning in barrels within the city limits.

Changes to an open burning regulation are being proposed as part of a broader update to various codes used by the city government.

The proposed changes were reviewed with commissioners last month. And the changes were discussed again Tuesday during a City Commission work session.

Currently, people in the city can have open burning of tree branches and brush piles on their properties if they obtain burn permits from the Leavenworth Fire Department. And residents can burn in screen-covered barrels without permits.

The proposed changes would ban most burning inside city limits including in screen-covered barrels.

Exceptions would be allowed for some forms of burning. For example, people could obtain permits for ceremonial bonfires. And people could have campfires and use portable outdoor fireplaces without permits.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Leavenworth resident Dewey Gillett requested an exception to the proposed ban on burning in barrels.

Gillett suggested that people who live on properties of at least one acre in size should be allowed to burn in barrels.

Gillett said he lives on a 2.78-acre parcel.

Commissioners took no action during Tuesday’s work session.

Leavenworth Fire Chief Gary Birch said people sometimes use the barrels to burn things that should not be burned.

“It gets used for other things,” he said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Nancy Bauder said she does not see much of a difference between campfires or outdoor fire places, which would be allowed under the proposed changes, and burning in a barrel.

“What’s the difference?” she said.

Bauder also noted that people would still be able to obtain permits for bonfires.
“I don’t see why they can’t call to get permission to burn in a barrel,” she said.

Bauder said she did not see why the size of a property should matter.

Mayor Mike Griswold said smaller lots likely would be located within neighborhoods.

Commissioner Mark Preisinger said he would think the size of properties would be an issue. He said burning in an area where houses are close together could be seen as a nuisance and a potential danger.

Preisinger said he has used a burn barrel, but he sees the wisdom of not allowing it. He said the city offers other ways for people to dispose of brush.

City Manager Paul Kramer said he would advise against allowing for exceptions based on the size of properties. Instead, commissioners should decide philosophically whether they want to continue to allow residents to burn in barrels.

He said a person on a one half acre parcel may use a burn barrel responsibly while someone on a larger piece of land may not.

Preisinger asked Birch to look into whether surrounding communities allow people to burn in barrels.

“We’re going to study this,” Griswold said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR