Silt violates town burning ordinance

March 6, 2015

controlled burn, Silt

Burn 3 on 3-6-15The Town of Silt issued a burn permit to a resident for a burn that violates the town’s burning regulations.

On Friday afternoon (3/6), Tod Tibbetts took these photos of an illegal outdoor burn that occurred inside city limits. This property is located on the south side of the I-70 overpass – the property containing the old silo.

Click on any photo to enlarge

Burn 1A on 3-6-15

Burn 4A on 3-6-15Tod paid a visit to the town hall to file an illegal burn complaint. The police officer he talked to would not take his complaint because the officer and Town Administrator Pamela Woods insisted that the burn was in accordance with the town’s burning ordinances — as they interpret them.

Let’s take a look at the Silt Municipal Code, Chapter 8.20 – BURNING REGULATIONS [emphasis added]

8.20.010 – Burning prohibited.

The burning of dry weeds, garden waste, scrub, brush, tree trimmings, construction waste, household waste, commercial waste, rubber, plastic, tires, insulation, or any other substance is strictly prohibited within the town limits, except as designated by the town administrator for burning of the town’s yard waste of trees and brush on public land.

(Ord. 6-06, § 1 (part))

8.20.020 – Burning allowed.

The burning of irrigation ditch weeds and brush shall be allowed as described in the International Fire Code, upon application to the town and all other agencies having jurisdiction over such an operation, provided that such operation is done according to local, county, state and federal law. The permittee shall contact Garfield County Communications in Rifle and other agencies required by the International Fire Code or local, county, state or federal agencies to provide notice of the location of the burn, the time the burn will commence and the time the burn will cease.

(Ord. 6-06, § 1 (part))

8.20.030 – Permit required.

Any applicant requesting to burn irrigation ditch weeds and brush as described in the previous section shall first submit an application to the town, and provide all other documentation as required by the town, county, state and federal regulations. The town shall provide a copy of the permit to the local fire authority via facsimile or any other method available. In the event that the town is unable to contact any member of the local fire authority, the town may deny the permit, at the discretion of the town administrator or his/her designee, until such time as the fire authority can be notified.

(Ord. 6-06, § 1 (part))

Town Administrator Pamela Woods claims that in “Section 8.20.020 Burning allowed” there is a comma after “irrigation ditch” which would make the burn permissible by permit. Click here to see the actual codified ordinance. I will give you ONE MILLION DOLLAR$ if you can find the comma between “irrigation ditch” and “weeds” in “Section 8.20.020 Burning allowed.”

Furthermore it just so happens Tod was a trustee in 2006, when the burning ordinances were written. And he has a memory like a steel trap. Tod is absolutely certain that the intent of the phrase “The burning of irrigation ditch weeds and brush shall be allowed as described in the International Fire Code,” in “Section 8.20.020 Burning allowed” was to allow for burning weeds along the ditch, which is exactly what the ordinances says.

There is no ditch on the property where this burn is located. This burn clearly violates the Silt Municipal Code Burning Regulations.

Debris from this pile was moved by machinery to the burn area on the property. Does this debris pile look like weeds and brush to you? Again this property is located inside Silt city limits.

Burn 2A on 3-6-15

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9 Comments on “Silt violates town burning ordinance”

  1. frackfiles Says:

    Sounds like the law is whatever the administrator thinks it is at a given time. Similiar to Greeley if the City Council agrees something is legal it is. Laws are only a handy thing to have around if it fits their agenda.

  2. B Says:

    I saw this burn today traveling wb (coming from GWS) to Rifle. It caught my attention bc it was burning too dark to be just weeds or ditch brush; which when I see weeds or ditch brush burning, it is white smoke, not dark gray. So, there had to be non-organic material in this debris.

    If they won’t let Tod file a complaint, now what? Was this a test run for the cattail burn coming up next week?

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    No it doesn’t have anything to do with the cattail burn. This is separate permit, issued by the town that violates the town ordinances.

  4. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    They wouldn’t take his complaint so I posted it here.

  5. maryinline Says:

    I’ll be attending Democracy School in Denver April 10-11. The Colorado Community Rights Network (CCRN) is hosting this training by two CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) trainers. Self-serving elected officials, and government officials, is common throughout US history, and beyond. I’m looking forward to learning more about enacting my rights as a citizen in Garfield County.

  6. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Well that’s a nice site but where you go when your own community is threatening public health and safety? To court!

  7. Anita Sherman Says:

    Exactly Peggy! Citizens go to court. We learn to use civic tools that don’t have to be funneled through top-down organizations. Citizen Duvall just got an Appeals ruling against her wayward Elbert County commissioners.

  8. maryinline Says:

    It’s about creating a new SYSTEM that doesn’t allow this to begin with in the first place.

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