published on December 5, 2016 - 2:08 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian is hearing from constituents and seeking input on a decade-old ordinance that bans open-hearth fireplaces, fire pits and barbecues in unincorporated areas.

The county’s Public Works and Planning Department is proposing to move the ordinance from the building code to the residential code to remain in compliance with state law. Poochigian sees the move as an opportunity to clarify the 2005 ordinance during the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 6.

She said one of her constituents cooks for 500 people at a church and found it impossible to prepare such a large amount of food without using a wood-fired barbecue.

Poochigian seeks to clarify if the ordinance outlaws outdoor grilling.

“I intend to ask what exactly is that all about,” she said.

Poochigian added that four out of the five current Fresno County board members weren’t in office when the code was originally enacted.

“I think the language could be improved,” she said.

Poochigian said there are some other areas in the law open for discussion, including the rule banning solid fuel/wood burning factory built fireplaces and appliances below 3,000 feet.

She hopes to make the wording clearer for residents who live in foothill communities like Squaw Valley, a community 30 miles east of Fresno that sits around 1,600 feet.

Poochigian isn’t sure how arbitrary the 3,000 feet rule is, as some residents need to burn solid fuel/wood to keep their homes warm through the winter.

There is an exception in the current code that allows permits for pellet-fueled stoves meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and San Joaquin Valley Air pollution Control District standards.

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