No smoking. No fireworks. And soon - no hot dogs?
If city fire officials have their way, many Lawrence apartment dwellers who step outside to grill burgers and such on a balcony or deck will be outlaws.
Proposed revisions to the city's fire-safety code would ban barbecue grills and other open-flame cooking devices on "combustible balconies" or within 10 feet of a building.
"I think that's going a little overboard," Lawrence resident Glenn Rice said of the proposed code revisions.
Rice sometimes grills on the ground-floor patio of his apartment at Ninth Street and Avalon Avenue.
"People grill within 10 feet of their home all the time - it's a little extreme," to try to ban that, he said.
But fire officials and apartment managers say there is good reason to seek the ban.
The code revisions were under way before last week's blaze at Village Square Apartments, where fire sparked by ashes from a barbecue grill caused $200,000 in damages.
No residents were injured, though a firefighter was treated for heat-related complications. But fire officials say the incident shows the need for the new restrictions in buildings where a fire can quickly threaten the lives and possessions of dozens of people or more.
"Landlords and tenants both say they're for it," said Maj. Rich Barr, the city's fire marshal.
Some Lawrence apartment complexes already prohibit grills on balconies. Donna Frentrop, district manager for First Management - which has more than 1,000 apartments in town - said her company's standard lease agreement makes charcoal grills impermissible.
First Management staff, she said, has removed grills from decks during inspections.
The 2003 edition of the International Fire Code contains the following restrictions:
¢ Bonfires prohibited within 50 feet of any structure "or combustible material," unless contained within a barbecue pit.
¢ Recreational fires not allowed within 25 feet of a structure.
¢ Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices "shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet" of most buildings.
¢ Most gas-fueled grills would also be prohibited.
"When the charcoal drops on the wood, we've found where there's (burn) holes in the wood," she said. "We take that very seriously - safety of our residents is very important."
Near the Village Square apartments, residents at Avalon Apartments were asked more than a year ago to remove their balcony grills because of insurance requirements.
Rice, a resident at Avalon, said he felt safer because of the requirement.
"I know there's some irresponsible people out there who don't think about the consequences and who don't use care," Rice said.
He said he's still allowed to use his grill because he lives on the ground floor and can pull it away from the building.
Landlords at Avalon declined comment. So did a property manager at Village Square Apartments.
One- and two-family homes would be exempt from the new grilling prohibition, as would buildings, balconies and decks that are protected by a sprinkler system. Very small gas-fueled grills would still be allowed.
Chris Chapin, an agent at Stephens Insurance, said insurance companies haven't required apartment complexes to ban grills, but that it's not a bad idea.
"It goes along with common sense," Chapin said. "If you want to limit your risk and ultimately lower your losses - which would correlate with better premiums - a landlord would make that a requirement whether it's required by the insurance company or not."
Barr said he hoped the revisions - based on the 2003 edition of the International Fire Code - would be complete by year's end.