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Louisville town council split on wood stove regulations

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LOUISVILLE - Prior to its March meeting, the town council will hold a public hearing on proposed outdoor wood stove regulations.

Following the hearing, the board will then vote on whether to adopt the law, and it appears that the decision will not be unanimous.

Two members of the board, Daniel O’Keefe and Roy B. “Slim” Beshaw, both feel like the required setback should be 50 feet from the property line versus the 100 feet proposed by the town’s 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 said they would like to see the setbacks reduced from 100 feet to 50 feet of the property line, noting the 100-foot setback leaves many property owners unable to install a wood stove on their land.

“If you go with 100 feet than they couldn’t put a wood stove on their lot without going for a variance,” Mr. Beshaw said, noting that a property owner with a home on a lot size of 150 by 200 feet wouldn’t be able to meet the proposed setback requirement.

“You’re supposed to be 15 feet off the property line, so you’re actually talking about 65 feet,” he said, noting not everyone can afford to purchase large plots of land.

“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 asked.

Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault and council members M. Gail Schneider and Patrick D. Carroll all agree with the planning board’s proposal, noting the setbacks don’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. I feel like they have done their homework, and I will support their recommendations,” Mr. Legault said.

Ms. Schneider agreed. “I went to the planning board meeting where they discussed and discussed and discussed all of that,” she said. “I’m going to go with what the board suggests. I feel like they made that decision for a reason.”

Mr. Carroll also agreed, noting that is why the variance process exists.

“My inclination is to go with that 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 as problematic as they do.

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

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