Lehighton borough has an ordinance governing outdoor wood burners, but one resident who was "grandfathered" regarding the regulations literally has been causing a big stink in his neighborhood.
Doug Williams of the 100 block of South Fourth Street said his neighbor's woodburner has a chimney which doesn't meet borough regulations and the wood that is burned appears to be a substandard variety.
Williams complained that the smoke from the wood burner "inundates our yard."
Several other residents in the area supported his complaint, including Tom Schaeffer, a retired chemistry teacher who said the type of smoke being emitted from the wood burner in discussion is unhealthy.
"The smoke has tripped the Verizon building alarm," said Schaeffer. He said the color of the smoke emitted from the wood burner isn't consistent with the oak or maple, which is generally burned in the stoves.
The owner of the wood burner spoke during the meeting and said that when he installed it, he got the necessary permits and approvals from the borough. He said new regulations were adopted after his wood burner was installed and he was informed that he was "grandfathered" of the new regulations.
Council member Melissa Ebbert said there is a wood burner at a residence on Ninth Street which also has resulted in complaints because of the grandfathering clause.
The Fourth Street wood burner owner told the council that to extend his chimney to borough requirements "wouldn't be practical." He said there are two churches near his home and the borough regulations state the chimney has to exend five-feet higher than all buildings within 500 yards.
He also said that none of the neighbors complained to him. "Nobody came to us at all," he said. "Nobody ever said anything to us."
Borough Manager John C. Wagner was instructed to look into the matter and send a letter to the individuals who complained regarding his findings.