Council discusses controlled burn request

Friday, April 9, 2021

olf and Country Club, requested permission for a one-time burn of brush and small logs on the golf course. The matter was discussed at the April 7th Alta City Council meeting.

Bartel and others from the country club said the yearly burn has been allowed for more than 50 years, and this year is imperative because there are currently more dead trees to dispose of than usual due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation.

The request was first made by Bartel at the City Council meeting in March, but the motion failed with 3 no and 2 yes votes. “We left last month with the council against the burning,” Mayor Kevin Walsh said.

There is a city ordinance of no burning in town, Mayor Walsh said, adding that things change with each new city council. “That ordinance has been sitting on the books for a long time. What’s changed is that past councils have allowed you to burn. As of last month’s meeting, they didn’t think it was a good idea to allow it this year.” Council Member Willie Lang believes that burning within city limits is unhealthy for residents.

At the April 7th meeting, Bartel was backed up by several country club members in favor of requesting a one-time burn. He said that since last month, they have come up with an action plan. “We have set up a new burn pile at least a quarter mile distance from any inhabited property. We are just here tonight to ask for a one-time variance to get rid of the current piles.”

Bartel and others are asking for leniency this year because it was out of the ordinary and a disaster to have such a large number of dead trees infected with the Emerald Ash Borer that need to be removed. Additionally, council members were assured there would not be an issue of smoldering logs because large logs have already been removed from the golf course by residents to be used as firewood.

One suggestion was to have the City remove the brush and dead trees from the golf course, but Mayor Walsh said it would be expensive.

Council Member Pam Henderson said sometimes the city needs to help people instead of following the book.

Council Member Molly Elston made the motion to allow a one-time burn on the golf course of primarily brush and small logs for this year when the weather is conducive and the fire chief is notified.

The motion failed with 3 no and 2 yes votes.