2010 April 12: MI Wyoming: COMMENTS on allows outdoor wood furnaces
April 12, 2010, 7:00AM
WYOMING — After first considering a ban on outdoor wood-fired furnaces, city officials now plan to allow the heaters under certain conditions.
The Wyoming Planning Commission this month will review regulations that would permit the units on lots of at least 2 acres in the Estate Residential district, mostly in the city’s panhandle south of Grandville.
The rules are part of a new zoning ordinance on alternative energies, crafted in expectation of a growing green-minded populace looking to conserve energy and cut utility bills.
"Certain situations are ideal for (the outdoor furnaces)," said Steve Beld, who currently heats his home on Ivanrest Avenue SW near 56th Street with an interior wood stove. "The city needs to put in certain parameters that would work."
City staff last month proposed that outdoor wood-fired furnaces, stoves and boilers be prohibited, citing concerns with smoke and unsightly wood piles. The small buildings continuously burn wood at certain times of the year and have sparked consumer health warnings from state and federal officials.
But the Planning Commission wants to allow the heaters on larger lots. So the ordinance now being written likely will follow state guidelines, such as a minimum distance from neighboring buildings and a minimum chimney height, said Tim Cochran, city planner.
Limiting on-site wood storage to four cords, or 512 cubic-feet, also is being considered. The Planning Commission will review proposed regulations April 20.
Any new rules would not apply to existing outdoor furnaces.
"We still have concerns, whether it be potential smoke nuisances or stockpiling," Cochran said. "We’re generally trying to be accommodating."
The alternative energies ordinance also addresses wind turbines and solar energy equipment such as roof-mounted panels. Padnos Iron & Metal Co. in December installed 636 solar panels atop its recycling facility at 500 44th St. SW.
The city has not received any official requests to install a wind turbine.
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It only takes a handful of these contraptions to make the whole town smell like a dump