Final vote expected for Whitehall fire pit and open burning ordinance

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

An ordinance to restrict fire-pit use and open burning in Whitehall likely will be ready for a final vote next week, officials said.

A draft of the ordinance will stay on display at the borough offices in the meantime, borough Solicitor Irving Firman said at council's April 3 meeting. The ordinance also is available at

Council members have discussed implementing regulations for outdoor burning since last June as a result of an increase in complaints from residents about the smoke pouring from backyard fire pits and into their homes and properties.

Officials have spend several months reviewing and making changes to the ordinance.

The ordinance outlines size limits for fire pits, the distance they can be located from a structure and times open flames are allowed.

The proposed rules prohibit outdoor fireplaces from being operated within 15 feet of a structure, combustible material or lot line. Fires also would be prohibited between 1 and 7 a.m.

Violators would face a hearing before the district judge and a fine of no more than $1,000.

An amended version of the ordinance was placed on public display after council's March 20 meeting but could not be voted on last week because it had to be available for public review for 14 days, Firman said.

Council members last week approved amendments to the borough's fire-prevention code, adopting the 2009 International Fire Code, published by the International Code Council, as a standard for fire safety in the borough.

Councilman Harold Berkoben was absent.

Transportation survey

A Whitehall councilwoman continues her effort of collecting data in the hope of helping improve public transportation in the South Hills region.

“The main thing is getting all of the public involved,” Linda Book said told her colleagues on borough council last week. There are several ways to participate in the survey, created by Book, which will be distributed in the borough's spring newsletter.

Surveys also are available on the borough website,, and at the Whitehall Public Library, 100 Borough Park Drive.

Surveys can be submitted to Book via email to with “SURVEY” in the subject line; through U.S. mail, Attention: Survey — Councilwoman Linda Book, 100 Borough Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15236; at a dropbox in the Whitehall Borough Building in the administration lobby between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays; and in the Whitehall Public Library drop box.

Responses are due by July 31.

Earth Day plans

A cleanup effort in Whitehall also will include about an education about local government efforts for refugees living in the town.

Mayor James Nowalk said officials have partnered with representatives from South Hills Interfaith Ministries to organize a cleanup effort in the Whitehall Place, formerly Prospect Park, housing complex for Earth Day on April 20. Local officials will talk to refugees in the community before they assist in the annual cleanup event.

“I think it will be a good civic event, as well as getting some garbage cleaned up in Whitehall Borough,” Nowalk said.

Civil Service rules

Whitehall Council last week approved changes to the borough's Civil Service Commission rules.

The changes included requirements for promotions of officers to sergeant and lieutenant post.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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