Latrobe fire pit owners could face fine under amended ordinance |

Latrobe fire pit owners could face fine under amended ordinance

Jeff Himler

Latrobe residents could face fines for violating the city’s fire pit ordinance under a proposed revision that would give city officials more enforcement power.

Council on Aug. 12 is expected to consider the amended ordinance that would add a $50 fine for each violation and would allow the city, after three such violations, to revoke a homeowner’s required permit for burning small recreational fires, said Zachary Kansler, city solicitor.

“No one thought about penalties” when the ordinance was approved 2½ years ago, city manager Michael Gray has said.

A person found in violation of the ordinance would have five days to pay the fine. That time frame prompted some debate among council members until it was noted those who get parking tickets in the city have just 24 hours to pay fines before the amount increases.

City officials have discussed requiring inspection of a fire pit device before renewing a permit following its five-year expiration. The permit carries a $15 fee.

According to the city’s online permit application, a fire pit must be no larger than 4 feet in diameter or 13 square feet, and it can’t be placed within 15 feet of a property line, structure, road, tree or other combustible material. That distance can be as little as 10 feet if the fire is fueled by propane, natural gas or charcoal briquettes in a commercially produced, non-combustible enclosure meeting Underwriters Laboratory standards.

Only wood or clean-burning fossil fuels may be used in a fire pit — to cook, create warmth or for ceremonial purposes — Latrobe fire Chief John Brasile has noted.

Council agreed to continue discussion of a proposed crackdown on long-term, on-street parking of trailers, rather than proceeding with a vote on the issue in August.

City officials have noted complaints about flatbed truck trailers being parked on the city right-of-way for extended periods of time, especially trailers that are piled with junk.

Chief John Sleasman said city police can’t order such trailers removed if their state registration is valid and they are located in a legal parking zone.

Kansler proposed owners be allowed to park trailers on city streets for no more than three days at a time.

“What we’re trying to avoid is people parking trailers in our right-of-way for an extended period of time,” he said. “We’re trying to allow reasonable use, without people abusing it.”

There was some debate whether the proposed restriction should apply to recreational trailers.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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