The hot topic at Tuesday night’s Grove City Council meeting was leaf burning.  A proposed new city ordinance to regulate open burning within the city limits had a handful of meeting-goers fired up.

Listed on the meeting agenda as item number B7, the topic was spelled out as, “Discussion And / Or Action Regarding Ordinance #560 Amending City of Grove Code of Ordinance Part 13 Public Safety, Chapter 1 Fire Prevention, Section 13-111 Open Burning.” And create discussion it did as the Council heard from four different citizens with concerns about the legislation.

Essentially the measure would call for citizens to acquire permits, at a cost of $5, before burning leaves in their yard. Details of the plan would also call for leaf fires to be contained at a distance of 50 feet from any building or dwelling.

The need for the standardization was brought on by a concern over construction crews creating large burn piles at building sites within the city.

Although the citizens who spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting had empathy with what the proposal was trying to regulate they all felt that, as it stood now, the measure would create undue hardships upon certain members of the community, including seniors and small-pile leaf burners.

Concerns voiced at the meeting dealt with the $5 fee, the strictness of the 50-foot rule, the length of the permit form, and the vagueness of permit validity dates.

After hearing from the citizens that addressed them, the Council expressed that they shared many of the considerations that had been raised. After some further discussion it was decided, unanimously, to table the idea for further review.

One proposal that failed to pass at the meeting was an amendment to change City policy toward taxi cab service.

A taxi service must maintain a certain monetary amount of liability insurance coverage to obtain a permit from the City. The proposed amendment to the ordinance, #559, would have brought the City’s insurance coverage requirement in-line with that of what the State requires from taxi providers. Figures mentioned at the meeting indicated that the City has an insurance requirement for taxi providers that are four times as much as the State.

Legal issues concerning the amendment were discussed, as well as the impact of a taxi service for a tourism economy. In the end the amendment failed to pass, by a 2-2 vote, with one council member being absent from the meeting.

Another point of interest at the meeting was the approval by the Council for the City to begin soliciting bids to purchase a new, or slightly used, excavating machine for the Street Department.

Kelly Kirkpatrick was honored as the City Employee of the Quarter by the Council. Kirkpatrick serves as a Code Enforcement Officer for the City.