Barbecue permits considered 

In an effort to minimize the liability and safety hazards of America’s longtime barbecuing tradition, the city is considering establishing a permit system for those who want to grill at any of the city’s 16 parks.

Randy Schwartz, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said there have been no specific incidents to prompt the discussion, held tonight at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, except that park-goers have no guidelines and parks have no official designated areas for grills.

Commissioners, however, say their goal is to prevent children from getting injured. Commission chairwoman Karen Dittman said she has witnessed barbecues near picnic tables within 50 feet of the playground area at Village Park on California Drive.

The commission will mull over several safety requirements on top of a permit system, including the size of grills allowed. Other ideas include mandatory on-site fire extinguishers and designating confined barbecue areas within parks. Washington Park on Burlingame Avenue is the only one in the city that has built-in barbecues, located a safe distance from trees and the playground.

While some barbecue gatherings may have scores of people, Commissioner Ed Larios said permits should be required for all party sizes, even for a small family of mom, dad and child.

"Let’s say we have four or five moms and dads who want to have a barbecue, but there isn’t adequate room in the park for that many barbecues. We have no way of regulating that," he said.

Permits would be free and would come with informational brochures. The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting takes place at 7 p.m. tonight at Burlingame City Hall, 501 Primrose Road.

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