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Ordinance adopted on wood-fired burners, furnaces by Franklin Township supervisors

Published October 21. 2009 05:00PM

Franklin Township supervisors on Tuesday night adopted an ordinance that will regulate where wood-fired outdoor furnaces can be located within the township.

Supervisors note in the ordinance that while wood-fired burners are an economical alternative to conventional heating systems, concerns have been raised regarding the safety and environmental impacts of these heating devises, particularly the production of offensive odors and potential health effects of uncontrolled emissions. The ordinance is intended to provide that outdoor wood-fired burners will be utilized in a manner that does not create a nuisance and is not detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Franklin Township.

The ordinance requires that a person planning to install an outdoor wood-fired burner must secure a permit from the township.

The permit can be suspended by the code enforcement officer if odors are detectable outside of the property on whose land the burner is located or if emissions interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of life on neighboring property. The permit can also be suspended if the emissions damage vegetation on neighboring property or if person does not burn approved (clean) wood.

Residents who already have an outdoor wood burner are required to secure a permit within a year. The cost of the permit fee is waived for the first year.

If the owner of the wood burner which is already installed does not secure a permit within a year, the person will have to meet requirements of the ordinance as if it was new construction. Present owners are grandfathered in, said Rod Green, board chairman.

The ordinance requires that anyone planning to install an outdoor wood burner must provide a plan showing all property lines and the distance between the outdoor wood burner and dwellings or occupied buildings on adjoining properties.

The burner must be at least 250 feet from any occupied building and must be located at least 150 feet from all property lines. The chimney of the new outdoor burner must extend at least two feet above the peak of the building it serves. The new owner must provide a copy of the manufacturer's specifications and instructions, which the applicant agrees to comply with and not alter at any time.

Green said the supervisors took a proactive approach because there are a few such outdoor wood burners in the township and they want to prevent any potential problems.

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