CLARION - Clarion Borough Council Sept. 3 denied a special event request from Clarion River Brewing Co. to have a small bonfire in its rear parking lot for brewing beer in late September.
"I still have concerns about it being too close to buildings," Clarion Borough Police Chief William H. Peck IV said.
Peck said he supports local businesses, but this type of event is too close to other buildings.
Clarion Fire and Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Chief Doug Preston agreed.
"No. Plain and simple," Preston said.
Bryan Smith from Clarion River Brewing Co. explained the business' request in a letter to Clarion Borough Secretary Linda Lavan-Preston.
Smith said he was adding additional safety measures after his conversation with Peck.
"I will build the fire off the ground on concrete slabs or blocks. I am building this in a gravel and dirt parking lot, so nothing combustible will be underneath the added concrete platform," Smith wrote.
Smith also wrote that he would build a screen to go above the fire to assist in catching any embers from the fire.
"Additionally we will have a crowd of patrons there most of the day to assist us in watching the fire and any possible embers that may come from it. It is very important to note that we are burning hard lumber/wood. In my experience, hard wood does not create embers that carry in the air," Smith continued.
Smith said his family owned a lumber yard and he grew up tending fires directly behind the building that warehoused more $500,000 in timber, plywood and other building supplies.
"I never once had an issue with embers or catching anything on fire," Smith wrote.
Clarion Borough Council member Brenda Sanders Dede suggested a caveat in which the borough permits the business to have the fire as long as someone such as Peck or a representative from the fire department is there at all times.
Fellow council members were concerned that the idea wasn't feasible because the event was to take place from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sept. 28 or 29.
Smith added in his letter that the two brewers who will create the beer have had this type of brewing experience in Erie without incident. A water hose also would be on site during the event.
However, Clarion Borough Council member Benjamin Aaron still had concerns.
"My biggest problem with it is the close proximity to the buildings," Aaron said.
All were in favor to deny the request except Dede who abstained from the vote and Jason Noto, who was not present at the meeting.
Another special event was given the green light to proceed, but council denied the group's request for a waiver for a noise ordinance.
Aglow International will hold a two-day musical event Oct. 18-19 in Memorial Park across from the Clarion County Courthouse.
Peck said the group will host a band from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 in the park and the next day will feature people playing instruments, but not a band.
Clarion Borough Council member Rachel Roberts said she couldn't recall the borough ever approving the university for its concert series. The university co-sponsors cultural event nights during the nine-day Autumn Leaf Festival as well as CampusFest in May.
"That's ridiculously loud," Roberts said of the university's concerts.
Peck explained that if council granted the noise ordinance waiver and if someone complained, no enforcement could take place.
Roberts said she believed the waiver was unnecessary since they don't approve one for the university or Autumn Leaf Festival, for that matter.
Others agreed and Roberts, and fellow council members voted no including Earl Zerfoss, Aaron and Rose Logue. Clarion Borough Council President Carol Lapinto and Dede voted in favor of the waiver.