Watson Township finally adopts outdoor furnace ordinance

The Watson Township Board Thursday evening finally adopted a new wood stove, or outdoor furnace, ordinance.

The 4-1 vote on the proposed local law “to regulate installation of use and outdoor furnaces” came after it was turned down by a 3-2 vote last November. Treasurer Sue Jones cast the dissenting vote. The board and Planning Commission have been working on it for some time.

Trustee Rod Zeinstra last fall said. “I’ve been struggling with this from day one. It’s more regulation. Clerk Kellie Morris said the proposed ordinance overregulates what such devices can burn.

Trustee Chuck Andrysiak, the board’s liaison with the Township Planning Commission, told colleagues Thursday evening, “We didn’t change much, except the way it’s worded.”

He said the township years ago passed the proposal, but didn’t meet publication deadline. Last fall, it failed because of the fears of overregulation.

However, since then the proposed ordinance has been tweaked and support has grown because of arguments from fire officials who say outdoor furnaces can be hazardous. For example, it’s not a good idea to burn treated wood and household hazardous waste.

The ordinance insists that wood stove owners burn only materials recommended by the manufacturer. Home built devices are discouraged, except in cases in which the unit meets specifications of wood stove manufacturers.

Andrysiak said he was relieved finally to have taken care of the business.

“I felt that if we don’t pass this one, we’re done,” he said.

The new ordinance will take effect Sept. 1, 2015.

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