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Louisville Town Council split on wood-burning stove regulations

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LOUISVILLE — The Town Council is considering regulations on outdoor wood-burning stoves, but members are split on what the required setback should be.

A public hearing and town board vote are scheduled for March 13.

Two members of the board, Daniel O’Keefe and Roy A. “Slim” Beshaw, say the required setback should be 50 feet from the property line, as opposed to the 100 feet proposed by the town Planning Board.

“I looked at a lot of codes and they have established setbacks in relation to neighboring properties,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “Ours doesn’t have that.”

Mr. O’Keefe and Mr. Beshaw both said a 100-foot setback would leave many property owners unable to install a wood-burning stove on their land.

“If you go with 100 feet, then they couldn’t put a wood stove on their lot without going for a variance,” Mr. Beshaw said.

A property owner with a home on a 150-by-200-foot lot wouldn’t be able to meet the proposed setback requirement, he said.

“You’re supposed to be 15 feet off the property line, so you’re actually talking about 65 feet,” Mr. Beshaw said.

“What if they can’t afford to buy a bigger lot and they’re putting in one of the burners to try and save money?” he said.

Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault and council members M. Gail Schneider and Patrick D. Carroll agree with the Planning Board’s proposal.

They said the 100-foot setback doesn’t necessarily prohibit someone on a smaller lot from putting in an outdoor boiler.

“I’m in favor of what the Planning Board has recommended,” Mr. Legault said. “I feel like they have done their homework and I will support their recommendations.”

Ms. Schneider agreed. “I’m going to go with what the board suggests,” she said. “I feel like they made that decision for a reason.”

Mr. Carroll said this is why the variance process exists.

“My inclination is to go with what the Planning Board has recommended,” he said. “If people want to deviate from that, they can go through the variance process.”

Mr. Legault said he understands the concerns raised by Mr. O’Keefe and Mr. Beshaw, but said he doesn’t think the setbacks are going to be problematic.

“Their concern was if you own a 150-foot property in the middle of nowhere, you wouldn’t be able to have an outdoor boiler,” he said. “If that is the case, apply for a variance and you shouldn’t have any problem getting one.”

The public hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at the municipal building. The board’s regular monthly meeting will follow.

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