Bellevue Grilling Debacle of 2012 – An Update by Danina DiBattista

On Tuesday, July 3rd, Bellevue Council chose to ignore the opinions and pleas of the majority of its residents and over rode the mayor’s veto of the burning ordinance in a 3-6 vote.

Many residents attended the meeting to offer suggestions all of which included taking the ordinance back to the discussion board, removing the grilling restrictions before putting up back up for vote.   There was one person that vocalized their support of passing the current ordinance, and about 6 that vocalized removing the grilling section. Council ignored the public and went forward in passing the ordinance in its current state.  According to the current ordinance, you cannot grill within five feet of any structure or combustible materials (trees, hedges, etc…), meaning that you’re not longer permitted to grill ON YOUR DECK.  To be sure of this, we asked about this specifically and it was this fact was stated in no uncertain terms by council and verified with our council president.One of our goals of LiB is to bring the citizens of Bellevue together to raise this town up and allow it to reach its full potential!  Is this burning ordinance going to prevent that from happening?  NO, not directly.  However, when people are looking to buy a home in the area, this debacle will be something that may make them think twice. Deciding whether or not to purchase a home in a town where the power is so deeply divided and the council members aren’t making decisions based on needs can be a frightening investment.  There is a reason that the home sales, business districts and school districts of other areas of Pittsburgh are flourishing and we think Bellevue can be part of that list!  Our hope is that there are no further ordinances are passed without proper research and statistical factors considered. The council admitted that they did not have many local statistics on this issue before passing the ordinance. Laws, rules and ordinances should be passed solely on a DIRE NEED basis, in my opinion. This entire debacle could have been avoided if Bellevue council would have just proposed that the borough simply adopt the Allegheny County burning ordinance as its own.  Given the fact that the citizens of Bellevue were already under the law of the county to begin with, I don’t think it would have blown up the way that it did within the borough. Sometimes less is more.This issue originated by the chronic complaining of one person. ONE person. The incessant complaints of one, spawned a few more people to jump on board, but not nearly as many people were on board with it as compared with those that were against it.  Is the “open burning” part of the ordinance a NEED?  Yes.  Is the “grilling” part of the ordinance a “NEED”?  No. And that’s why it should have been removed.  The small group of people that were doing the chronic complaining were mostly concerned with residents that were burning garbage, plastic, tires, etc… And I feel that they have every right to complain about that!  I don’t think the use of grills were mentioned in their complaints, so how the grilling restrictions made their way into this ordinance, makes no sense to me.  The members of LiB made it a point to repeatedly state that we were in full support of the “open burning” part of the ordinance. The opposition never once said that they wanted the grilling part to be removed…which leads me to believe that they were also just after the “power” move as well. This was not about compromising and coming to an agreement on something that will now effect a very large portion of Bellevue residents that grill on their porches or decks.  I say “shame on you” to those that fought so hard for the burning ordinance, claiming that it was about burning of garbage…Why didn’t you stand up in defense of the residents of Bellevue and say that you didn’t want the “grilling” part to be included?  We don’t need the government to protect us from ourselves.
Looks like our “Grill-abration” will be a protest after all. We had our fingers crossed that it would be a celebration, showing support and happiness that council listened to the public. We were really hoping that council would listen to its residents, the very people that voted them into office. After all, they’re representing the residents, aren’t they? When the citizens that they represent are telling them that it needs to be looked at again and revised, why wouldn’t they take the hint and do so? It seems that the hunger for power and fear of bruised egos got in the way of a blatantly clear disapproval by the public.
We will see you all on the 12th for our “Grill-Abration”!  Click here for more information and to let us know that you’ll be there!

14 Responses to “Bellevue Grilling Debacle of 2012 – An Update by Danina DiBattista”

  1. my mother lives in bellevue. i live in north hills. i wish i could get council to ban open burning where i live.. not gas grilling,but burning stinky,smokey wood,that smolders all night because it is not dry or seasoned wood. on cool nights when we dont need our air conditioners or furnaces,we use to be albe to open our windows and hear the crickets and the breeze thru the trees… i have not been able to do that for 3 years now because of 2 of my neighbors that live hundreds of feet away that have this thing about burning wood in a pit and sitting around it drinking beer ..they do not know how to build a fire that does not smoke.. when they go to bed,the fire sits there and fills the valley with the smell of ash and char. my neighborhood smells like a house fire just happened last night all the time. when i have company,my company notices it right away …. i actually am glad when we have rainy nights so the air will not stink .. in todays world. it is amazing that people cannot even smoke a cigarette within many feet of a public building or sporting events or in restaurants ect…but,they can fill thier neighborhood with smoke from burining wood. i know my one neighbor does it to cover the smell of smoking reefer,which i couldnt care less what he smokes,i just dont want to smoke his open pit fire smoke.. cnograts to bellevue council for having the leadership to and the forsight to consider all of its citizens wellfare,and not just a few dozen that have the urge have open fires..

  2. Nina! Nina! , Please don’t take the anger of your loss out on those who simply spoke their opinions and feelings regarding ‘their’ concerns relating to the ordinance. You Liberty (?!) folk talk about liberty, yet speak poorly about those who didn’t jump on your bandwagon to push for what YOU want. Is this what you Liberty folk do to people who are not ‘on your side’?!! Talk about shame! BLAME THE MAYOR FOR THE ORDINANCE! Had you done YOUR research, you’d have discovered that at the last regular council meeting, a member motioned to table the ordinance for furthur discussion. But he spoke, ranted, OUT of TURN, thus the ordinance was sent to the very place it was voted in. I believe you owe me, the ONE person, and council, a HUGE apology.

  3. Gayle, I’m not sure that you actually read my post above. I’ve been at every council meeting over the last several months, so I know what has happened in the meetings. How about this…Maybe you should READ my blog post above before taking your anger about the mayors behavior out on me? How about that, for a start? My “side” is not really something that I’m hoping people will favor, it’s more of the idea that when elected officials have a very large turn out of people that are asking them to take something back to the drawing board for a second look, and they ignore the pleas, simply for the sake of protecting their egos. So if by “my side”, you mean the idea that government needs to remove its microscope from everyone’s home, car, dinner table, etc…, then yeah, I think there are actually a lot more people on my “side” (as you put it) than you may like to admit. Sometimes, Big Brother doesn’t know what’s best for YOU, actually…it’s most of the time. If you’re one of the chronic complainers that insisted that an ordinance be made especially for you, then you’re obviously looking for a power move as well. Why didn’t you just suggest that Bellevue adopt Allegheny County’s ordinance as its own? That would have solved it. But now, because of your complaints, a very large number of Bellevue residents can’t cook their dinners on their decks the way they’ve been doing so for ages. Does it make you feel good knowing that you played a part in that? I don’t understand why you didn’t stand up for your fellow residents and demand (like the rest of the audience did) that the council take this back to the drawing board and remove the grilling part? You got what you wanted with the open burning section. Do you think that YOU know what’s best for me, or for my neighbor?

  4. And to address something else that you mentioned… I am not angry in the least. I’m actually a pretty happy person with the ability to express what I’m thinking in a very clear manner. You may take it as anger, but many do not see it that way. My opinions are straight forward and I like to leave things open for discussion. You actually seem very angry in your post, ranting and raving about the mayors behavior like I can control what he does… I do what I do, think what I think, and say what I say. What the mayor does, is not under any control from myself or from any member of LiB. You seem to have some personal vendetta against him…perhaps you should take it up with him, and anyone else that you seem to be so angry with. My post was basically just a summary of what happened at the council meeting on 7/3/12 and over the past few months, with a few of my opinions tossed in there. If anything that I stated about what happened at the meetings is incorrect, let me know. If you feel so strongly about controlling my life, my neighbors life, and so on…perhaps you and your friends should start your own group, “Tyranny in Bellevue”. I bet you’d have loads of followers, waiting with bated breath for you to tell them how to live their lives.

  5. Nina! Such hostility you put into your replies. Perhaps you realized this prior to your second, as you do sound calmer. First, you most certainly do want people to join your side. Your notes certainly do say that you don’t like it when people don’t. Secondly, LIBERTY (?!) DOES NOT CARE ABOUT EVERYONE. Nor did it care about my health when I ASKED FOR A COMPROMISE for the burning portion of the ordinance. AM I NOT ENTITLED TO BREATH FRESH AIR? Shouldn’t people in Bellevue be able to leave their windows open for FRESH AIR? Did you, Nina, or anyone else in your movement, occult, or whatever it is, fight for even ONE day free from burning? NO! I repeat, Nina, NO. Now, as for the mayor, had you read carefully, you would have understood the meaning behind what I said. But I don’t think you want to, Nina. I believe that this is SOMETHING YOU USE AGAINST ME because, again, I’M NOT JUMPING ON YOU BANDWAGON. oH, And if I choose to start a group, it will be called ‘Truth in Bellevue’.

    • I have repeatedly first hand heard the liberty folks say they support the burning part of the ordinance. Some of them even told council this at the last meeting so there was support for it. This is now only about grilling. The health discussion no longer needs to be had because everyone agrees! I have yet to hear a single person that was “for” the burning ordinance tell council that they they support a compromise on the grilling portion. This conversation is ridiculous because it seems like Gayle doesn’t want to really hear what is being said. Take deep breath everyone (now that the air is going to be slightly cleaner) and calm down….

  6. Gail, Did you not read that Liberty in Bellevue proposed a compromise? We specifically proposed to keep the fire/burning portions of the ordinance in tact but remove grilling regulation. It was shared on this site, e-mailed to council, and proposed during public comment at meetings. It fell on deaf ears. Gail, this is all truth. The truth in Bellevue is that there is a group on Council – and some of their friends not on council – who do not care to listen to the wishes of those who differ from them. We don’t exist in their worlds. They are our representatives to Council and don’t return e-mails, phone calls, or shrug off opportunities for polite & civil conversation. The personal attacks and juvenile name calling have come from those FOR the ordinance!

  7. Gayle, Thanks for clearing something up. Every time I walked into Bellevue I felt some kind of gravitational force. I never understood it till now, but its because the world and I must revolve around your needs and whims.

    Liberty does care about everyone. It cares about the smallest minority, the individual. I know you have health issues but why should your neighbor suffer as well for it? When you live in a town you understand that your neighbors may do things you don’t like. It’s part of living within 5 feet of another group of human.

    If this was something that bothered you you could have talked to your neighbor, saved up for central air with a nice filter, or closed your window on days they grill out. Yeah you may suffer for a little but you give your neighbors the greatest gift, freedom. If you live in a good community I am sure that neighbor will return the favor one day.

    The way things are now the few have told the many that they can’t grill unless they jump thought hoops. Last time I checked loops where not part of freedom. Your situation could have been solved with out the government getting involved.

  8. WOW, again. I keep hitting chords with you folk. And three replies, to boot. Scott, shall I get you a medal, or bow down to you? I’m sure some of your liberty (?!) folk would like prefer the latter? Now, Mark, your entire reply is ridiculous. Not everyone is happy,but of course, you’re referring to liberty (?!) folk. They are all you care about these days. Perhaps you have further political agendas, as well?! You see, Mark, had you listened at the meeting I attended, you would have heard the (open burning) compromise I suggested. Guess it’s enough for you to simply attend the meetings (finallly!)? Anyway, IT’S A SHAME YOU FELLOWS DON’T LISTEN. The compromise (are you listening Scott/) was for some days free from open burning. Now, Jason, answer this question, please: How will my neighbors suffer from BREATHING FRESH AIR? And please, like the lady , ‘THE ONE’, described the detriments of wood smoke and the such, please give me the details. Oh, and you may want to ask my neighbor(s) if I ever complained to them about their burning. Ask. You may be surprised by their answer. You see, fellows, I DO CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS!! So let’s not be ridiculous. p.s. I am not backing up your group, simple as that. Let’s not make my silence about grilling something that it’s not. Leave that kind of spin to Mouthy Marty.

    • Thanks for visiting again, Gail. We hope to see you at tomorrow’s event. I’m a very civil person and I feel I was beyond civil in my response to you. Why the crass attitude toward me (“Scott, shall I get you a medal, or bow down to you?”)? I simply stated that this group wasn’t against the principal of protecting our air quality – which is your grievance. We asked that the grilling language be removed. You very respectfully offered the compromise at the June meeting – but that too seemed to fall on deaf ears and that is a shame. Certain members of the leadership in Bellevue simply don’t care to consider the wishes or opinions of their constituents once there is any disagreement. There is no compromise. Get used to the numbers 6 and 3: nearly every Council vote will be just that until 2014.

    • Gayle,
      Do you realize that everyone in here supports the open burning sections of the ordinance? The compromise I am talking about is regarding only the grilling portions of the ordinance. Do you realize the my entire comment was directed towards grilling only? I think it is pretty straightforward that this is what I was discussing. We spoke after the meeting (of which I have attended very heavily over the last year and a half and only seen you at one, if your comment about finally attending council meetings was directed towards me) and we spoke about the grilling portion along with Carol Wyvell. You both indicated that it was not either of your intent to have grills become part of this ordinance. I indicated at that time that I would be willing to speak to council with you so that we could, together, show support for the burning ordinance, while at the same time showing council that compromises can be made. I do remember you speaking about a compromise on open burning days and i applaud you for that, but I agree that we dont need a compromise on the burning parts of the ordinance.Those should be enforced every day of the week. I truly wish that everyone can take the rhetoric down a notch so that people can hear what is being said, but that means that everyone is going to have to take a deep look at what they are writing and understand how it is going to be interpreted. So far, you seem to want to talk down to people as if they are children, they are getting frustrated and firing back and it keeps going in a never ending cycle. Again, I would be more than happy to sit and discuss this with you in person so that the meaning behind the words being used dont get lost in translation across this internet, but 1. I don’t believe you are ready to have a honest conversation about the topic. and 2. I dont feel the need to put myself in a position where where I am talking with someone who speaks with people as if they are superior to others. If you are willing to have an open two way conversation I will be more than glad to engage with you.
      Respectfully, Mark

  9. Mark, what you all want for the grilling doesn’t call for a compromise, but rather change. Therefore, what you are saying doesn’t make sense. What you wrote above states, ” the health discussion no longer needs to be had because everyone agrees!!” Some people are not happy because any day, any body can burn an open fire..

    • I haven’t heard anyone discussing health issues regarding grilling… We were glad that council compromised on the fire pits. It seems that you are unhappy because they didn’t go along with your compromise. I haven’t heard any other support for your proposal to only allow burning on certain days. Keep in mind no one is allowed to burn on action days. I don’t think we need to further restrict the days you can burn. I still don’t understand you pulling grilling into your above argument, removing the grilling would not change the rest of the ordinance.

  10. Hi Gayle,
    This compromise was propsed prior to the ordinance being enacted. Just so you know the word compromise means “An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.” There fore, We would agree to keeping the open burning parts of the ordinaince and the they would remove that language as it relates to grilling. You are correct that now that is has passed that it would be a “change” to the ordinance. As far as the health discussion as it relates to the ordinance, what i am saying is that everyone agrees with the health concerns. Asthma, COPD, etc….I get it. The part we disagree about it how to regulate burning. This ordiniance as it stands gives local bellevue officials more room to regulate. Thats great. It should be regulated. If you feel the ordinance should be stricter I would encourage you to continue discussions with the members of council.

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