Green Oak Township residents may soon have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the municipality’s burning regulations.

Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says he’s received numerous complaints over the years from residents related to smoke generated by burning yard waste. The township was recently contacted by a resident who suggested a township-wide burn ban, which prompted some discussion at the Board of Trustees’ meeting Wednesday.

While St. Charles doesn’t think a township-wide ban would fly with some residents, he is interested in options and alternatives, like a burn ban in higher-density areas. That would allow for small, recreational fires in those regions, but not the kind used for burning leaves and yard waste as they generate a lot of smoke. He says those smaller subdivisions are where he receives the majority of complaints from anyway, and not so much the rural parts of the community.

It’s all about finding a balance, according to St. Charles, who understands the concerns of residents whose health may be affected by excessive smoke, but also the limited options for disposing of yard waste and residents’ ability to do so. St. Charles is interested in putting a public survey on the township’s website to obtain feedback from residents on what they’d like to see in regards to burning regulations.

Officials have not cemented the survey idea or even discussing options, but St. Charles felt it was important to at least consider. In the meantime, he encouraged the community to be considerate to one another, suggesting that if someone does plan to burn leaves or yard waste, that they wait for a day with no or minimal wind to avoid spreading the smoke.

St. Charles says the situation is very similar to the issue of why the township doesn’t have a single-source garbage hauler, adding that a lot of people want that, but a lot of people also want the right to choose their own. (DK)