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Board of commissioners consider burn ordinance
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County commissioners are considering an ordinance that would place new regulations on where debris from construction sites can be burned.

The proposed ordinance came about after county officials received complaints from neighbors that live near a site in western Dawson County owned by the Big Canoe Property Owners Association.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon said neighbors have complained about smoke from construction and vegetation debris piles burned on the Hubbard Road lot.

The POA was recently issued a notice of violation from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for an unpermitted surface mining operation and unpermitted solid waste disposal activity at the site.

"It would only apply to open burning of material hauled to the premises of the open burn from other premises," said County Attorney Joey Homans.

A burn permit from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources would be required to burn material brought from another location, according to a draft of the ordinance, which would also limit burning between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

"We're not seeking under this ordinance that there be any local permit. The state law specifically allows additional rules and regulations from the local government, in this case us," Homans said.

All permitted burns would also require a "competent person 18 years or older" with the ability to extinguish the fire to be present for the burn.

If approved, violators could be fined $1,000 for each infraction. Civil penalties could also be assessed.

Roger Klask, general manager for the POA, last week said the association had "no intention of being a bad citizen and hoped to have the issues resolved with EPD quickly.

He admitted the lot has been used "as a place to store and burn tree limbs and such" with the required permits.