Shippensburg Borough Council discusses burning ordinance

2013-01-17T21:00:00Z Shippensburg Borough Council discusses burning ordinanceBy Debbie Chestnut, The Sentinel The Sentinel
January 17, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

Plans to advertise an outdoor burning ordinance were put on hold Tuesday night as Shippensburg Borough Council members decided to make a few changes and review the proposed ordinance again at its next meeting.

Opposition centered on the times (between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.) that chimneys and factory-built novelty stoves could not be used. Other types of outdoor burning (such as recreational fires, bonfires, charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices) have no time restrictions, although permits are required and event times are recorded on permit applications.

Permits are not required for chimneys and factory-built novelty stoves but, like all fires covered in the ordinance, must be supervised.

“I would strike the times,” said councilman Steve Brenize. “The property owner or an adult has to be present (according to the ordinance) ... I don’t see a difference if it’s midnight or one o’clock in the afternoon.”

Vice president Kathy Coy said smoke could be more of a problem in areas where homes are in “close quarters,” and councilman Joe Hockersmith pointed out that the borough’s noise ordinance goes into effect at 10 p.m. Council members also discussed a part of the ordinance dealing with smoke after dusk.

“My biggest concern is what they are doing with the ashes afterward,” said Borough Fire Chief Randy O’Donnell.

The ordinance prohibits burning refuse, rubbish and waste; incinerators; construction burning; and outdoor wood-fired boilers.

In other matters, the council discussed police response procedures at local schools.

Four of the six schools in the Shippensburg Area School District (Nancy Grayson and James Burd elementary schools, the high school and middle school) are located in Shippensburg Borough. The intermediate school and Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School are in Shippensburg Township.

At the two schools located outside the borough, incidents are directed to state police. Since GBLUES is on the Shippensburg University campus, SU police are also available.

Police Chief Fred Scott said borough officers would respond to an emergency at any of the schools.

In response to a question from Brenize, Scott said a similar situation exists in Newville. Big Spring School District’s high school and middle school are located outside of Newville Borough, but an agreement between law enforcement departments allows local police to respond there.

Scott was asked to research that arrangement and report to council.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Bruce Hockersmith reviewed his State of the Borough report. In addition to the report, which was emailed earlier to council members, he said the police department has posted a complaint form online at, and he talked briefly about emergency management and preparedness, the development of a Community Resource Coalition to assist local residents in need, and Shippensburg EMS.

“They (EMS) have seven ambulances,” he said. “In 1947 when our first ambulance with automatic transmission was delivered, it was the second ambulance we had.”

In his report, Hockersmith said the borough is in “excellent” financial shape but senior and youth activities centers are needed in Shippensburg. He also discussed the police department and Memorial Park.

“Reading the State of the Borough, I think you have hit everything I’ve heard since I’ve been on council,” said Coy.

Heather Franzoni of Shippensburg EMS told the council that there were about 2,600 calls (671 in the borough) in 2012. That represents an increase of about 100 calls from the previous year, which she said is typical. About 98 percent of the calls were emergency dispatches, she said.

In other business, the council accepted with regret the resignation of Donovan Yaukey from the Park and Recreation Advisory Board.

Copyright 2015 The Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. R_Goddell
    Report Abuse
    R_Goddell - January 29, 2013 7:53 pm
    How do you think a visitor would react to the status of downtown Shippensburg? Would they consider the multiple empty storefronts, empty buildings with insulation panels over the windows, and derelict buildings representative of a borough in 'excellent' financial shape? Get serious.

    Maybe it's time for a change in leadership. Maybe the borough should focus less on the number of ambulances we have now compared to 1947, and start focusing on improving the image of the downtown area.

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