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Moriah to take action on outdoor furnaces

PORT HENRY - The town of Moriah will likely place limits on outdoor furnaces this spring.

The Moriah town board will hold a workshop Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m. at the town hall to review a proposed local law setting parameters on the heating systems.

The meeting will be open to the public.

"We want to get something on paper in a proposed local law form so we can go to a public hearing," Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said.

Scozzafava said he hopes to have a local law in place in April. That's when complaints about smoke from neighbors peak, he said.

"I never get any complaints during the winter," he said. "It's when people start to open their windows that smoke becomes a problem."

Scozzafava, trustee Tony Harvish and codes officer Richard LaPier have been studying the issue and local laws in other communities. They will make recommendations at the Feb. 24 workshop.

The use of outdoor furnaces has been an issue in Moriah for several years.

The village of Port Henry, located within the town of Moriah, placed limits on outdoor furnaces two years ago, but the town has not taken any formal action.

Some Moriah residents, particularly in the hamlet of Grover Hills, claim smoke from nearby units is a nuisance - and possibly a health hazard.

Harvish has 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 they're a neighborhood nuisance.

The furnaces, mostly wood-burning, can be placed anywhere from 8-100 feet from a home. Manufacturers claim they're 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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