A long battle appears to be over, with burning preserved as a popular form of yard waste removal in the city of Angels Camp.
City council members split 3-2 as they often had before in considering a controversial ordinance that institutes a burn permit system in the city.
The first attempt to introduce a burning ordinance was voted down more than a year ago. The second try seemed vanquished by a March vote but Mayor Elaine Morris, part of a 3-2 majority, decided to bring it back for reconsideration.
A permit system is required to keep the city in line with the state fire code it has already adopted, according to Fire Chief Greg Petersen.
Council members and residents alike have railed against the introduction of permits as an unnecessary bureaucratic measure but “without the ordinance, (residents) can’t burn, period,” Petersen said.
The ordinance gained approval from Morris and council members Roger Neuman and Scott Behiel while council members Jack Lynch and Stuart Raggio voted it down.
It was moved with Behiel’s amendment that calls for the permit of burning outside fire season, typically November through April, by publication of a general permit by proclamation in the newspaper and during the fire season by issuance of a personal permit valid for three years.
“That way it refreshes everybody on the rules for safe burning and then we’d be done,” Behiel said.
The whole ordeal may not quite be over as questions arose immediately after the vote. Raggio seconded the motion yet voted against it, causing some on city staff and in the audience to question whether that is allowed.
City Attorney Richard Matranga was asked to make sure that it is. If not, the matter could come before the council at least once more.