Several residents addressed the Cleveland City Council during its voting session Monday afternoon regarding burn permits granted for tornado debris cleanup on Ella Drive. Resident Clyde Farmer said, “I have lived in Bradley County all my life. We have been trying to clean up this property behind my house where the storm came through. The owner, Mr. Haun, gets the burn permits and the fire department comes and puts out the fire every time. The man needs to clean the property up and the fire department won’t let him clean it up. This is something we’ve looked at for almost two and a half years. Now he’s cleaning it up and they won’t let him burn it even though he has a permit. Two times they lit the fires and two times the city came and put them out.”
Cleveland Fire Department Chief Steve Haun replied saying, “I think there is a 90 percent misconception of what’s going on here. From the accounts that I got from our personnel, Mr. Haun had called the battalion chief three times about burning at this location. He was told he was able to burn vegetation and storm damage but he could not burn the house or any kind of housing material. The permit that he has from the state is to burn vegetation and storm damage and that’s all.”
He went on to say, “When the battalion chief showed up on the scene, he said there were three piles burning. Two of them were vegetation and the other was a house pushed inside of a foundation area with vegetation on top of it. It had shingles, insulation, siding, piping and everything from a home and that is why they put it out. It’s the state’s law. It’s not our law. We are kind of in a peculiar situation in covering the fringe area because we really have no authority in the fringe other than to put it out. I’d be glad to work with them in any way we can.”
After the meeting, Chief Haun spoke with the residents to try to resolve the situation.
In other business, City Mayor Tom Rowland said he has had several calls about complaints with Charter Communications going to digital with several local channels. He said, “Many residents have complained about losing half of their channels but still having to pay full price for programming.” A motion was made to write a formal letter to Charter Communications on behalf of the mayor, city staff and council concerning the complaints of residents.
The following consent agenda items passed unanimously.
-Final Passage of Ordinance No: 2013-09 amending the Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter 7, Sections 9-701 through 9-734 relating to Taxi Cabs.
-A motion authorizing the mayor to send a letter of support for the Youth Build Grant.
In new business and ordinances a resolution authorizing and providing for the financing of the construction of a wastewater facilities project including authorizing the execution of applications, agreements and other necessary documents ($1,826,000) passed unanimously.
A resolution authorizing and providing for the financing of the construction of a wastewater facilities project including authorizing the execution of applications, agreements and other necessary documents ($8,174,000) also passed unanimously.
The council also passed an ordinance abandoning a section of 4th Street NE located between Church Street NE and North Ocoee Street for construction of a new fine arts building for Lee University.
The Cleveland City Council will hold its next voting session meeting on Monday, March 25, at 3 p.m.