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Ti mulls outdoor furnace moratorium

TICONDEROGA The town of Ticonderoga is considering a moratorium on the installation of outdoor wood furnaces. The town board has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. at the Community Building to hear comment on the proposed action. In the past 30 days Ive had about 15 calls regarding outdoor boilers, Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick said. Other towns have dealt with this issue; we knew it was coming. Dedrick said after the hearing he expects the town board to establish a six-month moratorium that will allow a committee to investigate outdoor wood furnaces and make recommendations. The proposed moratorium will still allow some outdoor wood furnace installation if the home owner can place it at least 100 feet from any neighboring structure and have a chimney taller than the highest point on the adjacent house. We understand with the high cost of fuel oil wood burners can be a good alternative, but we also realize we need some regulations, Dedrick added. While outdoor wood furnaces can be a less-expensive source of heat, they can also be a nuisance to neighbors and a threat to the environment, according to critics. In New York State 35 municipalities have banned outdoor wood boilers while 27 have imposed regulations, according to statistics provided by the DEC. Nearby Port Henry recently adopted regulations and the town of Moriah is investigating local action. New York State is also taking action, although slowly. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has started working on regulations that could be put in place within the next year, and the state Senate and Assembly both have bills dealing with the subject at the committee level. An OWB, as the boilers are commonly called, is a freestanding structure that contains a firebox surrounded by a water reservoir. Water is heated, then circulated through the home. They are being touted as an alternative means of providing heat for buildings during a time when the price of oil is climbing. The purchase price of them is in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. DEC spokeswoman Lori OConnell said regulating OWBs is part of a larger plan, noting that the DEC is also working on stricter rules for outdoor burns. Proposed state regulations would control what is burned and when that material could be burned. Essentially all materials except clean wood and starter materials such as newspapers couldnt be used in the OWBs, according to a copy of the 13-page draft regulations. Garbage, tires, manure, animal carcasses, plywood and yard waste are among the 20 items that would be banned from being burned in OWBs. New and existing OWB usage wouldnt be allowed between April 15 and Sept. 30 unless it met certain criteria, including emission standards, allowing it to be certified. New OWBs would also have to be located at least 100 feet from property lines. New OWBs would be required to have a stack, or chimney-like structure, no less than 18 feet from ground level.

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