After years of complaints from some town residents regarding outdoor furnaces or wood boilers, the Malta Town Board has spent the past several months examining the issue and will be holding a public hearing next week related to proposed changes in the town code that will ban their use by 2015.
We’re only aware of six outdoor wood boilers in town, said Heather Mallozzi, building and planning director for the town of Malta.
The new law will require the owners of those wood boilers to obtain a permit from the town before Oct. 1, 2008, and require the town’s code enforcement officer to insure the furnace and its operation comply with the provisions in the new law. Owners will be expected to have the units inspected at least once each year and provide proof of that inspection to the town to obtain the initial permit as well as to retain the permit. Those who opt not to get a permit will be required to remove their existing outdoor furnace by the same date.
Other provisions within the law require that the outdoor furnaces be used only between Oct. 1 and April 30 of each year, must be equipped with properly functioning spark arrestors, and must not have an emission of a smoke plume exceeding an average of 20 percent opacity ` being opaque – for six consecutive minutes in any one-hour period. Additionally, the new law limits the fuels to be used for the outdoor furnaces to firewood and untreated lumber, providing clear definitions for each. Another provision will require existing outdoor furnaces to have a permanent stack, which extends 5 feet higher than the peak of any roof structure within 150 feet.
Outdoor furnaces are often used as an alternative heat source providing interior heat to homes as well as hot water for the home, pools and hot tubs.
Both Supervisor Paul Sausville and Councilman Cliff Lange had expressed concern in early workshops on the matter related to some people’s reliance on the wood burners as their only economical means to provide heat to their homes.
At the June 25 agenda meeting, Sausville indicated that Central Boiler, a manufacturer of outdoor wood furnaces, has already contacted the town and suggested the town is going too far in phasing out the furnaces over the next eight years.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is currently examining the topic of outdoor wood boilers and Saus-ville suggested the town may want to wait to learn of DEC’s recommendations on the matter before making a decision.
The public hearing on outdoor wood boilers is scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m. on Monday, July 2. Other public hearings scheduled for the evening include discussing a mass gathering permit for Veteran’s fireworks, LEED Certification, ethics board referrals, approval of a new sign at St. Ledgers Woods, and Storage PODS. Public hearings are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. with the regularly scheduled town board meeting to begin at 7 p.m.
The Malta Town Board has also tentatively scheduled a workshop related to the Luther Forest Technology Campus for Thursday, July 19, at 7 p.m. The workshop will discuss the new proposal to bury 1.1 miles of electrical service and how that will impact the $1.5 million mitigation fees to be paid to the town. Another public workshop has been scheduled for Monday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. to review the downtown standards.“