Yesterday I drove through a cloud of smoke in Woodstock. After I stopped coughing and my eyes stopped watering, I could see the road again and kept going. I looked around to see which house was on fire, but it was "only" smoke from a backyard.
This morning's article about leaf-burning in McHenry County (outside municipal limits) caused me to wonder about regulations within the City Limits of Woodstock.
According to Donovan Day, Woodstock's Code Enforcement Officer, leaf-burning is not permitted. Not on week-ends; not in the evening; not in the Fall. Not ever. Luckily for Donovan, enforcement is provided by the City's police department.
If you wish to report leaf-burning, all you need to do is call the Woodstock P.D. at 815.338.2131
Perhaps all the officer will need to do is make a quick stop at the location of the fire and direct the resident to put it out and not burn again. A quick courtesy call and explanation of the City's ordinance may be all that is needed, without a summons; however, the officer should record the call and/or issue a written warning.
The importance of calling the police and making the report is the likelihood that the same resident will burn at another time. If he does, then he should get a summons and "invitation" to visit the local Administrative Adjudication Court. A good plan is "one warning is all you get." At least, I hope that's where such tickets will be handled and not in the (expensive) McHenry County court system.
The police department has confirmed that it has the authority to enforce Woodstock's no-burn ordinance. All the officers should be familiar with the no-burn law and know the Department's policy for calls on that subject. Hopefully, officers will themselves be watching for violations and take action without the need for residents to call.
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