Metro-East News

Swansea tightens the rules for leaf burning

Swansea Village Board trustees would like the voters to decide whether leaf burning should remain legal. But for now, residents must follow new leaf-burning rules approved 5-1 by the Village Board on Monday night.

The existing time limits for burning leaves will remain in effect but the village will no longer issue permits to burn yard waste outside the regular burning seasons.

Residents can now only burn leaves from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays between April 1 and June 15 and between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, according to the new ordinance.

Trustee Matt Lanter voted against the ordinance because he believes the combination of a burning season along with permits worked “OK.” He would like to see the leaf-burning issue decided by voters in a referendum next March.

Trustee Susan Schultz, who did not run for re-election on April 7, said she voted for the new system because it reduces the number of days that people can burn.

Like Lanter, she also would like to see the leaf-burning question put on the ballot next year.

The referendum issue was not part of the ordinance approved Monday night but Schultz said the board members agreed this would be a good idea to hear from the voters.

Village officials said state law requires this type of ballot question to be nonbinding but Schultz hopes the Village Board would follow the results of the referendum because that would be the “fair thing to do.”

Trustees Susan O’Malley, Katherine Ruocco, Ron Sutterfield and Brian Wells also voted to change the burning rules.

Schultz said about 100 people attended the board’s meeting Monday night.

The board tabled a plan that would have banned leaf burning except for people who obtained a permit.