Latrobe fire pit owners could face fine under amended ordinance
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.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .