North St. Paul authorities got burned when they tried to take the backyard bonfire away from the city’s residents.
The City Council this week rescinded the ordinance it passed in December that required residents to buy an annual fire permit for $30 or pay $10 for each individual backyard bonfire, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
“The idea was to keep tabs on who was having a fire and kind of monitor it a little better so people weren’t using deck or painted wood that causes a lot of smoke. … But the whole thing just kind of backfired,” Candy Petersen, a city council member, said of the permits. “I guess we didn’t really look at all the ramifications of it. … We’ve gotten a lot of pushback from people, probably the most I’ve gotten since I’ve been on the council.”
Some residents said the fee infringed on their rights, but the city said one of the problems is smoke from backyard fires wafting into the noses and lungs of neighbors.
Many communities in the metro — Golden Valley and Maple Grove, for example — require permits for recreational fires but does not charge for them. Some other cities — Minneapolis and Woodbury, for example — do not require permits. In Minneapolis, however, the backyard fire is banned when the wind is greater than 10 mph.