Open Yard Trash Fires In Florida Must Be At Least 150 Feet From A Neighboring Occupied Structure

One Hundred Fifty Feet (150 feet) is half the length off a football field. These Dallas cheerleaders are on the 50 yard line of a football field. It is 150 feet to the goal line … a very long distance. The image below comes from the Florida Forest Service website. Download the Florida law on open fire requirements. It defines the required setbacks for an open fire. The lots in Village Green are small. I don’t believe that any lot in Village Green is large enough to satisfy the setback requirements shown below. Many homes in Village Green are surrounded by a very dense tree canopy. Escaped debris burning is one of the leading causes of wild fires in Florida.

Smoke from an unlawful open fire can be a nuisance. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “nuisance” as the unlawful use by a person of his own property, either real or personal. This suggests that an unlawful open fire would be a nuisance.

There was a June 29, 2005 case in Broward County, Florida … Merril v. Bosser … where the plaintiff filed a complaint with the court that cigarette smoke from a neighbor’s condo was a nuisance. The smoke from an open fire … a bonfire … can be much worse than the smoke from a cigarette. The judge cited the Florida Supreme Court on nuisance in his order.

Paragraph 9 of the Deed Restrictions says that “No obnoxious or offensive activity shall be carried on upon any lot, …”. The smell of smoke is very obnoxious and offensive  when it is coming through your open window or patio door. The burning of toxic materials can harm your health. Read the cigarette smoking court case of Merril v. Bosser where Judge Robert W. Lee ordered and adjudged that the plaintiff was damaged and the defendant was ordered to pay damages.

I would suggest a new Deed Restriction that prohibits open fires … bonfires … in Village Green. The smoke from an open fire … a bonfire … can be a nuisance as defined by the Florida Supreme Court to nearby neighbors. I believe that an open fire is a safety hazard in Village Green. I have asked the Board Of Directors (BOD) to consult with the Florida Forest Service and Lake County fire officials to get a full understanding of the Florida law on open fires. I believe that the Village Green Property Owners Association might be liable in a legal action if they ignored an unlawful open fire. I suggest a Deed Restriction that would prohibit open fires as defined by the Florida Forest Service. I am not an attorney or a fire safety engineer. The BOD needs to consult with such professionals to head off any problems that might arise in Village Green. The SAFETY of Village Green residents is very important.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tested and approved fire pits are much safer than open burning (bonfires) and may be allowed under Florida law. The BOD needs to consult with local fire officials on the use of UL tested and approved fire pits in Village Green and set out any guidance for Village Green property owners on fires in new Deed Restrictions.

Re-write the 26-year old 3-page Deed Restrictions and shut down the burning of yard waste in Village Green. Village Green has yard waste recycling pickup every Thursday. There is no need to have open bonfires in Village Green. Why should near-by neighbors have to suffer from the smoke, burning embers and ash on cars?

The blog www.friendsofvillagegreeen.com is NOT affiliated in any way with the Village Green Property Owners Association, Inc.

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