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    Recreational Fire Questions

     
    Click here for the full text of the Open Burning Ordinance amendment adopted on August 23, 2016.

    Recreational Fire Permit Questions

    Do I need a permit to have a recreational fire on my property?

    Yes. A Recreational Fire Permit is required to have a recreational fire within the City of Grand Rapids. A Recreational Fire Permit may only be issued for single-family or two-family (duplex) properties and may not be issued for properties containing 3 or more dwellings.

    How do I apply for a permit?

    Applications will be accepted online and can be submitted 24/7. Applications can be submitted using the Development Center kiosk if you do not have Internet access or need assistance from City staff. The Development Center is located at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM (excluding holidays).

    Click here to apply.

    IMPORTANT: The application fee is non-refundable. As part of the permitting process, a written notice of the application will be sent to the owners and occupants of properties within 100 feet of the property where the recreational fire is proposed, giving those neighbors twenty-one 21 days to respond with an objection to issuance of the permit. If one of the notified neighbors objects, the permit will automatically be denied. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plan for a recreational fire with their neighbors before applying.

    Click here for a complete explanation of the neighbors who will be notified of an application and have an opportunity to object to issuance of the permit.

    Click here to look up property and ownership information.

    For more information regarding the recreational fire permitting process, please contact the Development Center at 616-456-4100 or by email.

    What information is required in addition to the permit application?

    If the applicant is not the owner of the property where the recreational fire is proposed, the applicant must attach to the application a signed permission letter from the owner. Additionally, a site plan illustrating where the fire container will be located on the lot must also be attached to the application. Click here for an example site plan.

    How long is my Recreational Fire Permit good for?

    Permits are valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance. An application is required to renew a Recreational Fire Permit.

    How much does a permit application cost?

    Initial permit applications are $50 and annual permit renewals are $10.

    After my application is submitted, how long will it take before I receive my permit?

    Once an application and applicable fee is submitted, the application will be reviewed to determine eligibility and completeness. Within 10 business days, a written notice of the application will be sent to the owners and occupants of properties within 100 feet of the property where the recreational fire is proposed, giving those neighbors 21 days to respond with an objection to issuance of the permit. If one of the notified neighbors objects, the permit will automatically be denied. If there are no objections received, the permit will be issued. Overall, the entire process should take approximately one month. Please note that an incomplete application may delay the permitting process.

    Who will be notified and have an opportunity to object to my permit application?

    As part of the permitting process, a written notice of the application for a Recreational Fire Permit will be sent to the following:

    • The address of record for all houses, condominiums, apartments, businesses, and other occupiable units in a building that is located entirely or partially within 100 feet of the property where the recreational fire is proposed
    • The address of record for the owner of all properties located entirely or partially within 100 feet of the property where the recreational fire is proposed
    • If the recreational fire is proposed on a property with a two-family dwelling, the address of record for the other dwelling
    Notified parties will be given 21 days to respond with an objection to issuance of the permit. If one of the notified neighbors objects, the permit will automatically be denied. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plan for a recreational fire with their neighbors prior to applying.

    Click here for a complete explanation of the neighbors who will be notified of an application and have an opportunity to object to issuance of the permit.

    Click here to look up property and ownership information.

    What are the lot requirements for a recreational fire?

    • Single-family or two-family property
    • Minimum 5,000 square foot lot size
    • Fire container must be at least 20 feet from any structure or combustible material
    • Fire container must be at least 20 feet from any lot line, roadway, alleyway, or fence
    • Fire container must be at least 15 feet from any overhead line
    To determine the approximate size of a lot, visit the City Assessor's website to view property data online.

    If you need assistance determining your lot size or have an irregularly shaped parcel, contact the City's Development Center for assistance. City staff at the Development Center can be reached Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM at 616-456-4100.

    What are the requirements for a fire container?

    The fire container must be a recreational outdoor portable fire pit, chiminea, or other free standing container designed for use in having safe and controlled outdoor fires. It may not be larger than three (3) feet wide, three (3) feet deep, and three (3) feet tall (exclusive of feet, legs, or chimney). It must be made of non-combustible materials and covered by a screen or other spark cover/arrestor.

    A garden hose, fire extinguisher, or other means of extinguishment must be readily available for immediate use.

    Can I dig a fire pit?

    No. Backyard fires may only be within a recreational outdoor portable fire pit, chiminea, or other free standing container designed for use in having safe and controlled outdoor fires. The fire container must be made of non-combustible materials and covered by a screen or other spark cover/arrestor.

    Can I burn anything other than wood?

    No. Only seasoned dry firewood can be burned. Burning of yard waste, leaves, refuse, trash, building materials, or other materials is expressly prohibited.

    When can I have a fire?

    With a valid Recreational Fire Permit, burning is allowed between 7 AM and 10 PM, EXCEPT on high risk fire days, on Ozone Action Days, or on any day designated as unsafe by the Fire Chief. The fire must be attended by an adult 18 years or older at all times.

    How can I determine whether my neighbor has a Recreational Fire Permit?

    Information regarding permits for specific properties can be searched and found online. Information can also be obtained by contacting the City's Development Center at 616-456-4100.

    How do I file a complaint regarding a neighbor's recreational fire?

    Complaints regarding recreational fires can be submitted by contacting the Fire Department at 616-456-3900.