To burn or not to burn in Lime Springs?

By Marcie Klomp

That was the question facing Lime Springs City Council at its July 2 meeting.

Heidi Trouten came before the council asking members to uphold the ordinance of not having a fire within 50 feet of a structure. Her complaint stems from her neighbors, Hillary Klimesh and Dan Bisen, who have a fire ring. She claims they have lit it in the morning and then left for the day, leaving it to smolder and be a hinderance. She is also concerned the fire is less than 15 ft. from an LP tank.

Fire Chief Tony Roberts has looked at the fire ring and announced, “I don’t see a problem with it. Unless he was really over piling it. The [fire pit] is relatively well-made in stone and put in the ground. I think it is far enough from the LP tank and fence. It’s good, safety-wise. The grass around it was still green and growing.”

Trouten continued, “I just don’t think it’s in the ordinance. A fire pit does not fall into the ordinance. And there was a fire going and nobody was tending the fire. When I went to knock, nobody came to the door. This was 10:00 in the morning. He came home around 4:00-5:00 and the fire burned the entire time.”

Neighbor Klimesh said, “We don’t leave a live fire. It’s probably embers. We have kids. We have animals. We would not leave an unsafe fire.”

She went on to say, “I’ll go with whatever I need to do.” She pointed out the entire town would have to follow that ruling also. “Then probably nobody in town could have a fire pit.”

Trouten responded, “It’s not only the unattended fire, but the smoke is constantly coming in my windows. It makes me nervous. I would like a cover over it.” She saw a flyer where they were on sale.

Klimesh reiterated, “I will do whatever the council says, but if I have to spend money on a cover then everyone else does, too.”

Council member Corey Gates explained many of the ordinances are outdated and the entire book needs to be updated. “We need to look at this ordinance.”

Mayor Barb Robinson pointed out, “This won’t just affect this pair of neighbors, it will affect a lot of people. It would also include no leaf burning.”

Trouten responded, “I didn’t know the city council could pick and choose the ordinances they want to enforce.”

City Clerk Carla Moser stated, “We cannot pick and choose the ordinances we enforce but we need to make sure our ordinances follow state code.”

Gates said, “It sounds like the biggest issue is an unattended fire. My suggestion is to go one month.” Speaking to Klimesh, he added, “Contain your recreational fire. It will be attended and put it out when it’s done.”

The neighbors are to come back in a month, giving council time to look at state codes, fire regulations and other towns’ ordinances regarding fire rings, making sure the current ordinance is in compliance with all state codes.

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