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Outdoor wood-fired boilers banned in South Whitehall

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 07 2012 08:56:15 PM CST
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

To the extent that there ever was one, the flicker of controversy involving outdoor wood-fired boilers and South Whitehall Township is now out.

The Board of Commissioners extinguished the issue for good after a 5-0 vote Wednesday night as they approved an amendment to an ordinance banning outdoor wood-fired boilers.

During an October 3rd public hearing on the matter, the board tabled the matter to afford the township staff the time necessary to address comments about the types of boilers being restricted. Specifically, after a township resident, Douglas Snyder, raised questions as to why his permit application was denied and whether it was the township’s intent to ban the wood-fired boilers whether they are used indoors or outdoors.

On Wednesday night Assistant Director of Community Development Gerald Harbison said he had contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for clarification.

“The boiler intended to be restricted must be certified for outdoor use,” Harbison said. “….Our intent was not to ban indoor appliances. That’s not what we’re after. It’s big outdoor woodburners.”

As for Mr. Snyder, Harbison added that his permit was granted, since it used indoors, in his garage.

“It was a good litmus test,” Harbison added. “I apologize to Mr. Snyder.”

“It was a good learning experience,” added Board President Christina Morgan.

The origin of the ban stemmed from protecting township residents from nuisances concerns such as smoke and odor.