Hallam is making local laws easier to understand, following Borough Council’s review of amendments to existing ordinances during its July 8 meeting.
“All of these are just clarifying what we already have,” said council President William Fitzpatrick after the board voted unanimously to advertise all six measures. Final adoption is expected at council’s Aug. 12 meeting.
Perhaps the most significant of the measures is one regulating open burning. The new ordinance seeks to provide greater fire safety, including requirements that fires be monitored by a sober adult, that fire suppression equipment such as a hose or fire extinguisher be on hand, and that fires be at least 15 feet from any structure or overhanging trees.
“If that had been in place already, it might have prevented a fire that destroyed a garage in the borough last month,” said Eric Strittmatter, chief of the Hellam Fire Company. Strittmatter said that blaze had been caused by open burning right next to the garage.
“The wording of the new fire ordinance is a lot better,” said borough zoning officer Sherry Myers. “It is much clearer.”
Two of the other ordinances will identify property owners’ responsibilities in maintaining their lots, making it clear where property owners’ responsibilities end and the borough street crew’s responsibility begins. Residents will need to keep sidewalks, curbs and gutters clear of all vegetation.
Another amendment will make it illegal to blow grass clippings into the streets. Borough solicitor Evan M. Gabel said the measure will help reduce pollution and blockages in stormwater drains. It will also make the streets safer for motorcyclists because wet grass clippings create slippery, unsafe conditions.
Violators will get door hanger notices that set a deadline for coming into compliance. Those who don’t heed the notice will receive citations.
The other three ordinances include:
- A measure removing restrictions on using gas lawnmowers before noon on Sundays;
- Authorization for the tax collector to charge a fee for tax certifications;
- No parking restrictions on both sides of the entire length of Artman Avenue and Blessing Boulevard.
Fitzpatrick said the new no parking zones are being created because of the narrowness of those streets. “It’s very tight there. This will make better access for emergency vehicles,” he said.