Wood-fired boilers a 'hot' topic in South Whitehall Township

Posted: 10:20 PM EDT Oct 03, 2012

The South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners tabled an amendment to a township ordinance that would have banned the use of wood-fired boilers during Wednesday night's meeting.

During the public hearing prior to a potential vote, township resident Douglas Snyder questioned if the legislation before the board intended to ban the use of wood-fired boilers whether they were inside or outside of a residence.

Solicitor Joseph Zator II noted that as the amendment was written, the wood-fired boilers physical location did not determine its legality, and therefore would be banned. Earlier in the meeting, Assistant Director of Community Development Gerald Harbison noted that the ordinance was crafted in part to address “potential nuisance issues” and was in compliance with legislation written by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The amendment would have amended the township’s Public Safety and Conduct ordinance.

Zator also noted the banning in other municipalities was done in part as a result of health concerns related to the air pollution the devices make adding that it's "become a minor movement" in some of those locales.

Snyder responded by saying that he had a wood-fired boiler inside his home and questioned why the boilers themsevles were being banned totally.

His question left enough of an impression with Commissioner Thomas Johns that he sought to table the ordinance and request that Harbison further review the issue as it relates to Snyder's contentions, which the other commissioners concurred.

Harbison was also asked by commissioners to research whether other municipalities had encountered this issue. The tabled issue will come before commissioners in two weeks at their October 17th meeting. The issue had previously been brought before commissioners and also tabled.