Sparta Township Burning Ordinance
81.000 BURNING ORDINANCE Ord. No. 125 Effective: October 13, 1973
An Ordinance to regulate the setting of fires and to provide a method for the collection of cost
and expenses to the Township caused by the setting of fires pursuant to Public Acts of 1945,
No. 246 as amended.
THE TOWNSHIP OF SPARTA ORDAINS AS FOLLOWS:
Sec. 1. This ordinance shall be known and cited as the Sparta Township Burning
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eff. May 9, 1996)
A. Approved burning device. A properly installed and maintained incinerator
displaying an American Gas Association or similar rating organization seal of
approval stating that the device met such organization’s requirements for
smokeless-odorless operation at the date of manufacture. The absence of a seal
of approval shall be prima facie evidence that such incinerator is not an approve
B. Closed. As herein used, the word “closed” shall mean a container having a top of
solid metal, or with perforations or spaces therein not exceeding one inch in
diameter in anyone of said spaces and the spaces to be at least one quarter
inch apart. Said top shall be in place while burning.
C. Fire chief. As herein used, the word “Fire Chief’ shall mean the Chief of the
Sparta Fire Dept.
D. Person. Any individual, corporation, partnership, association, or any officer,
employee, or agent of the foregoing.
E. Waste flammable material. Any waste or discarded substance that will burn,
including but not limited to refuse, debris, waste forest material, brush, stumps,
logs, rubbish, fallen timber, grass, stubble, leaves, fallow land, crops, garbage or
F. Responsible person. Any individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership,
commercial entity, consortium, joint venture, government entity, or any other
legal entity, that violates any provision of this ordinance or is an owner, tenant,
occupant, or is otherwise in control of, the premises or property on which the
violation of the ordinance occurred.
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eft. May 9, 1996; ord. no. 00-1 adopt. Jan. 13,2000)
81.003 Permitted and prohibited burning.
A. No person shall kindle or maintain any bonfire or rubbish fire, or authorize such
fire to be kindled or maintained on or in any public street. alley, road, or other
public ground without a permit or other proper authorization; provided, however,
the above shall not apply to a person using any public park or public playground
in the manner provided and authorized by the authorities in control of the same.
B. Excepting where expressly authorized by statute or ordinance, no automobile
tires or other parts of any motor vehicle, waste (or other articles or substances
emitting excessive smoke) shall be kindled or burned without a permit therefor
having been issued by the Fire Chief of the Sparta Fire Dept. or a duly authorized
representative. No permit shall be granted except to prevent possible great
hardship or great loss and then, only, if such burning will not unduly pollute the
atmosphere or premises owned by other persons.
C. Burning of waste flammable material in a closed or approved burning device is
permitted without a permit.
D. No person may burn any waste flammable material in any manner, other than in
approved or closed burning devices, without first having obtained a permit from
the Chief of the Sparta Fire Dept. or from a Sparta Township official.
E. This ordinance shall not apply to the burning of fuels such as wood, charcoal, or
gas for the preparation of food or recreation.
F. It shall be lawful with a permit to burn leaves, branches not exceeding four inches
in diameter, “yard clippings,” provided further that the following conditions are
1. Such burning is not done on a public street or a public parkway.
2. Said leaves and/or yard clippings shall emanate from the property on
which it is burned.
3. The burning must occur not less the 75 feet from the nearest public street
or highway, at least 50 feet from all buildings, and at least 150 feet from
the nearest dwelling owned or occupied by any person other than the
owner of the premises on which such burning shall occur.
4. No burning shall take place between the hours of one (1) hour before
sunset and one (1) hour after sunrise.
5. No burning shall take place when weather conditions are such that
burning is, in the opinion of the Fire Chief or his designee, likely to create
6. Burning shall be conducted in such manner that it will not be detrimental
to the health, safety or welfare of other persons or property.
7. All burning must be done under the continuous supervision of an adult
who shall be present at the fire site.
8. Some type of equipment capable of extinguishing the fire must be
conveniently available whenever burning is taking place.
G. Fruit farmers in Sparta Township shall be permitted to burn brush, after obtaining
a burning permit from the Sparta Township Office, provided that the brush (being
trees and/or tree trimmings and/or branches of any size and/or leaves and/or cut
grass) shall emanate from the property on which it is burned and that all
conditions of Section 3.F. 1 through 7 of this Ordinance are met.
H. The Fire Chief or his designee is hereby designated as the authorized official to
issue municipal civil infraction citations for violation of this Ordinance.
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eft. May 9,1996; ord. no. 00-1 adopt. Jan. 13,2000)
81.003A [Responsible party; billing and collection; enforcement.]
(a) Responsible Party; Reimbursement of Township. When the Sparta Fire
Department responds to a call for assistance which involves burning that was
conducted in violation of Section 3 of this Ordinance (“unlawful burning”), the
responsible party shall be obligated, jointly and severally, to reimburse the
Township, its agents, contractors and employees for all costs of the Township
incurred in connection with the response to the incident and for all costs of any
other fire departments that responded to the incident pursuant to a mutual aid
agreement. For purposes of this section, the costs incurred by the Township for
any response activities shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (a)
charges for Fire Department vehicles as established by resolution; (b) the costs
of personnel, supplies, and equipment of the Sparta Fire Department utilized in
connection with the incident; (c) any costs charged to the Township by a third
party; and (d) billing and collection costs, including attorneys’ fees.
(b) Billing and Collection. Following a response to an unlawful burning, the Fire Chief
shall prepare and transmit an invoice to the responsible party (or parties) for
payment. The invoice shall demand full payment within 30 days of the date of the
mailing of the bill. Any additional expenses that become known to the Chief
following transmittal of the bill to a responsible party shall be billed in the same
manner on a subsequent bill. For any amounts due that remain unpaid after 30
days, the Township shall impose a late charge of one percent per mo th, or
fraction thereof. Failure to pay the invoice within 30 days of the date of mailing
shall constitute a violation of this Ordinance.
(c) Enforcement. If any responsible party fails to reimburse the Township for the
costs described in subsection (a), above, the Township may bring an action in a
court of competent jurisdiction, and may take any other lawful action, to collect
such costs. In addition, if a responsible party who fails to reimburse the Township
for the costs described in subsection (a), above, is an owner or taxpayer of the
property on which the unlawful burning occurred, the Township may add such
costs to the tax roll as to such property and to levy and collect such costs in the
same manner as provided for the levy and collection of real property taxes
against such property. The recovery of costs imposed under this section does not
limit or modify the liability of any responsible party under local ordinance, or state
or federal law, rule or regulation.
(added by ord. no. 00-1 adopt. Jan. 13,2000)
81.004 Authority of fire chief/burning permits.
A. This ordinance shall be enforced and administered by the Chief of the Sparta
Fire Dept. or his designee. On verbal or written application and on receipt of fee,
if any has been established by the Township Board, the Fire Chief or his
designee may issue a permit to burn according to the rules approved by the
B. Findings. When necessary the Fire Chief shall make written findings concerning
his determination which shall include the following:
1. The need for and/or availability of fire department personnel to guard
against the spread of fire.
2. The duration of the permit. In no case, shall a permit be granted for more
than 7 days.
3. The degree of air pollution on the day of burning and the effect of burning
on air pollution.
4. Any other factor likely to adversely affect the public health, safety and
general welfare of persons and property in Sparta Township.
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eff. May 9,1996)
81.005 Violations; municipal civil infractions.
Sec. 5. Any person, corporation, firm or other entity who violates any provision of this
ordinance is responsible for a municipal civil infraction, subject to payment of a civil fine of not
less than $50.00, plus costs and other sanctions, for each violation, as authorized by Sparta
Township Ordinance No. 96-4, as amended, and other applicable laws. Repeat offenses under
this ordinance shall be subject to increased fines in the amounts as provided by Section 2(c)(2)
of Sparta Township Ordinance No. 96-4, as amended.
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eff. May 9,1996; ord. no. 96-3 eff. May 9, 1996; ord. no. 99-8 adopt.
Nov. 11, 1999)
81.006 Repeal and severability.
Sec. 6. Any Ordinance in conflict with this Ordinance is hereby repealed. Should any
section, clause or provision of this Ordinance be held invalid in any court of competent
jurisdiction, the same shall not effect the validity of this Ordinance as a whole or any part thereof
other than the part so held to be invalid.
(amend. by ord. no. 96-1 eff. May 9, 1996)
81.007 Effective date.
Sec. 7. This ordinance shall be effective 30 days after publication in the newspaper of
general circulation in Kent County, and said effective date is May 9, 1996. This amendment
shall be reported to the Department of natural Resources within 30 days of adoption.
(amend. byord. no. 96-1 eff. May9,1996)