Changes needed to burning ordinance

Posted7/4/2020 1:00 AM

What's so sacred about the Barrington Hills burning ordinance? Village President Martin McLaughlin won't tell you. At the April 27 trustees meeting, the issue was whether the burning ordinance should be reviewed by the Public Safety Committee. All six trustees, one-by-one, calmly voted by voice in the affirmative. Finally, President McLaughlin was asked to vote and he shouted -- shouted -- "Adamantly not." I challenged him to a debate; he declined.

The burning ordinance certainly needs modifications. It ludicrously allows every resident, in his sole discretion, to burn yard waste up to three hours every day of the year -- every day -- no matter the wind speed, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (in the dark.), even though Barrington Hills has almost no fire hydrants. And the resident's burn pile need be only one hair over 100 feet from a building, including a neighbor's home.


After I lived in my home 30 years, a new neighbor cut down about 80 trees and burned the yard waste within about 180 days. No village permit was required; no neighbors had to be informed in advance of each burning.

The smoke and stench were so overpowering, my guests and I couldn't sit on my patio without uncontrollable coughing spells and tears streaming from our eyes. Windows in my home couldn't be opened.

I bet 95% of village residents burn yard waste fewer than five days annually. Limit a resident's burning to 10 days annually. I chip once a year.

President McLaughlin and trustees: Barrington Hills needs very few days for yard waste burning, burn piles at least 150 feet from lot lines, burning disallowed when wind is more than 10 mph and more changes I'd describe in person if you didn't limit a resident's comments to a paltry three minutes per meeting.

Richard Michi

Barrington Hills

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