By Ken Ross
After receiving input from citizens with divergent opinions regarding open burning, the Cherokee City Council approved a spring burning season on a 3 to 2 vote.
The motion made was to allow burning through May 8, but to restrict banning in the future to the time from Nov. 1 to April 1, thus minimizing the time burning is done with windows open.
Prior to the vote, members of the audience spoke out on the issue.
Charlie Letsche said that he and his wife are both allergic to smoke. He said that some towns, including Storm Lake, have banned burning.
Mark Cozine said that he has breathing problems and needs to use inhalers. "There have been times we've just left town and stayed in a motel to make it through the night," Cozine said.
He noted that the landfill composts yard wastes, picks up yard wastes at various times and allows people to drop off yard waste during landfill hours.
Al Peterson presented the council with a petition containing 140 signatures of people wanting to maintain open burning.
"It boils down to a property rights issue. Why should the tiny percentage of those who don't like burning prevent the rest of us from burning?" Peterson asked.
Peterson said that he has large trees on his property and that it would take many bags to hold all the leaves.
Mike Hunter suggested a restriction of burning between Nov. 1 to April 1 to minimize the impact when windows are open.
Zauhar said that houses are not airtight and that smoke will get into homes even during the time suggested for burning. "We've got to remember those people who have problems."
Ron Johnson, Doug Woods and Bill Troth voted for allowing open burning, starting immediately and lasting through May 8, but to restrict future open burning to between Nov. 1 and April 1. Troth was not present at the meeting but participated in that part of the meeting by conference call.
Dwight Varce and Marty Zauhar voted against the motion.