Massena mayor calls for open burning in village, catches flack from public, trustees
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 9:22 am

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- The mayor tried to revive a proposition to allow open burning in the village, but wasn’t supported by his board and was criticized by members of the public.

In February, the board held a public hearing for a law that would have allowed residents to have open burning in something like an open barbeque pit or chiminea in their back yard. It would require use of dry, untreated wood with fire suppression on-hand. It didn’t get a vote after residents with breathing problems spoke against the legislation.

On Tuesday, Hidy revived the idea.

He asked for a motion to set a public hearing date, which didn’t get anywhere.

Trustee Francis Carvel said he has received numerous correspondences from citizens against changing the code.

“I’ve had several people call me … and only one person was for it,” Carvel said, adding that a big part of the issue is those who have a small fire but leave it to smolder after they go back inside for the night.

He also cited an elderly woman at the February meeting who was against the idea and cited her breathing problems.

Hidy said he had heard a lot in favor of it and said the woman from February was “just one old lady.”

Massena Fire Department Foreman Ken McGowan said he wrote the proposition to include the on-hand fire suppression requirement. It isn’t the code as it stands now, which allows open burning in the village if it is for cooking.

Hidy took a tongue-lashing at the end of the meeting, during a closing public comment period. Former Mayor Charles Boots, who was in a shouting match with Hidy over an unrelated matter, criticized him for pushing the new burn code for self-serving purposes.

“If things don’t go the way you want them to go, it’s not right,” Boots said. “You want that to go … It’s frustrating to come to these meetings sometimes.”