TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga officials have decided to take no action on outdoor wood furnaces. For now.
The town board held a public hearing on a possible moratorium on the installation of outdoor wood furnaces last fall, citing complaints from residents about smoke and smells from the units.
"After the public hearing, but before the next town meeting I attended a workshop conducted by Linda King, who is a land use training specialist for the Department of State division for local development," Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick said. "She stated in 2006 there was a proposed New York State legislation on outdoor wood boilers which was not passed so they went back to the drawing board.
"They involved Betsy Lowe, commissioner of the (state) Department of Environmental Conservation, who was working with a blue-ribbon committee that have drafted new regulations that are far better to understand and she believes the state will pass legislation," he continued.
"Therefore, the town board did not adopt this moratorium and will review it after one year to see the results, if any, from the state," Dedrick said. "If the state does not adopt new regulations then the town can move forward."
The proposed Ticonderoga moratorium would have still allowed some outdoor wood furnace installation - if the home owner could place it at least 100 feet from any neighboring structure and have a chimney taller than the highest point on the adjacent house.
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 has 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 O'Connell 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 couldn't 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 wouldn't 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.