Outdoor furnaces remain controversial in Moriah

PORT HENRY An old issue has resurfaced in the town of Moriah. Supervisor Tm Scozzafava acknowledged the town has received complains about outdoor furnaces during the Nov. 13 town board meeting. I know weve discussed this before, but it continues to be a problem, the supervisor said. Trustee Gene Williams pointed out the village of Port Henry, located within the town of Moriah, has established an ordinance dealing with outdoor furnaces. Williams urged Moriah trustees to hold a public information meeting on the issue. That wont be a first for Moriah. The town has debated the merits of outdoor furnaces several times, most recently last winter. In 2005 the board held a hearing on a proposed law to address the issue, but took no action. Following the Nov. 13 discussion, no action was taken. Some Moriah residents, particularly in the hamlet of Grover Hills, claim smoke from nearby units is a nuisance and possibly a health hazard. Trustee Tony Harvish investigated the matter in 2005. He reported he had contacted the New York State Association of Towns and several municipalities to see how outdoor furnaces are treated elsewhere. Some communities, particularly villages in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties, ban them completely. Others have established regulations requiring setbacks from property lines, minimum chimney heights and the use of untreated, unpainted wood. The entire state of Maine has ban the use of outdoor furnaces. Harvish noted that while there have been many complaints, there are only a couple of problem areas in the town. Outdoor furnaces are gaining popularity with many, but to others theyre a neighborhood nuisance. The furnaces, mostly wood-burning, can be placed anywhere from 8-100 feet from a home. Manufacturers claim theyre more economical than traditional furnaces and tout the safety aspects of having the units outside a home. But like all furnaces, they create smoke and often the chimneys are much lower than those found on homes. That means the smoke is discharged much closer to the ground and to neighbors than conventional chimneys.

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