Oneida County, NY
SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
A public hearing was held by the Town Board of the Town of Trenton at 7:30 p.m. at the Trenton Municipal Center, Barneveld, NY. The purpose of the hearing was to hear comments on proposed Local Law A of 2005, which would impose a six-month moratorium on placement of outdoor wood burning furnaces.
Present: Supervisor Mark Scheidelman; Betsy Mack, Bruce Kellogg, Joseph E. Smith; Attorney Tom Hughes; Highway Superintendent Art Hughes.
There were approximately 90 residents present.
Scheidelman reviewed the “Guidelines for Public Comment” which is part of the town’s Rules of Procedure for Town Board Meetings. He read the proposed law and a letter from the Planning Board recommending a moratorium. He explained that the moratorium was proposed to allow time for the Planning Board to review the subject; the local law would allow the town to not issue any permits until such review has taken place. The town has four options according to the Association of Towns: 1) allow the furnaces pursuant to state codes, 2) allow them with additional local regulations, 3) ban the furnaces and seek removal of existing ones or 4) ban all new furnaces but allow existing ones to continue. After the Planning Board has reviewed all information, the Town Board will hold another public hearing on a local law, which may or may not ban the furnaces. The clerk was presented with two petitions from residents who are in favor of the ban. Princia Benson also previously submitted information on the hazards of outdoor wood boilers and a report from Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (dated August 2005) on the negative impact of outdoor wood boilers. Betsy deLalla also previously submitted a letter against the furnaces.
Fran Dunn – asked who from the Planning Board was present at tonight’s meeting. Ansley Schmitt, Rick Allen, Geri Speich, Scott McCartney & Jeanne Brown (Secretary) acknowledged their presence.
Dan Hudon, Jr. – said that he contacted the Planning Board Chairman and asked her to pick up information he had and to be contacted of any meetings dealing with the subject of outdoor wood burning furnaces and this was not done. After a long period of time, the information was finally picked up by Joe Bradley.
Ansley Schmitt – explained that there was a miscommunication and she thought the information was coming by email.
Valerie Collins - why has this subject just come up now? There is too much interference in private lives.
Scheidelman explained that there have been several furnaces installed in the town recently, which has caused complaints from residents. Scheidelman read from the petition submitted the reasons for the residents being against outdoor wood furnaces: air pollution, Eliot Spitzer is quoted as stating they may be the dirtiest method of heating, least economical and release more pollution than other types of heating, the smoke reaches neighboring houses, it causes medical problems and people cannot enjoy the outdoors.
Bill Hartnagel – the key words in the argument against are “certain conditions.” If you burn the wood wrong it can be hazardous. People move to rural areas to enjoy wood; where will it end – will wood stoves and fireplaces be banned?
Rob Wells – why was there no town-wide survey on this? The Planning Board should have done this prior to presenting it to the Town Board.
Ken Ray – he is here as a citizen and not as an attorney representing anyone. The timing of this moratorium is all wrong; oil prices are rising to record highs and all the money is going to the oil barons. He challenged anyone to tell the difference between the smoke from an outdoor furnace and an indoor furnace. He stated that these furnaces are considered accessory buildings so why not just regulate the height of the chimney? It is safer to have an open flame outside than inside your home. This moratorium is a legal writ without lawful authority, and the Town Board needs to show irreparable harm. Our forefathers burned wood long before oil was discovered. Banning these furnaces could put a local retailer out of business.
Princia Benson – quoted from research done by Eliot Spitzer; several states are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to ban these furnaces. All her information can be found on the internet. There are many chemicals and carcinogens in the smoke from these furnaces including formaldehyde, which is banned in other countries. She is concerned for the health of future generations. Some say that the pollutants in these furnaces are as much as 1,800 times more than what is emitted from gas furnaces. The State of Connecticut says the pollutants are 8,000 times more than what is emitted from gas or oil furnaces. She is not against indoor furnaces, only outdoor ones.
Ralph Dittenhoefer – is aware of the increasing cost of heating; the area is already in a depressed state; decisions made in haste can wreck havoc on the tax base. The Town Board should base their decisions on facts not personal opinions. Wood is a viable way of heating; it keeps many in the town employed; it would affect the livelihood of many people. If one business suffers, others suffer as well. The town needs progress not regress.
George Zacek – has been burning wood for 25 years. The savings that he has incurred have enabled him to do things with his family and further their education. He was planning on purchasing an outdoor furnace for safety and economical reasons. He is an asthmatic and is willing to take the risk to allow everyone to save money. Why not regulate the height of the chimney? The outdoor stoves are no different than a fireplace or indoor stove. People who are trying to make the rules have come from cities and can afford to buy oil.
Winifred Dunn Jones – has an outdoor furnace and it is more efficient and environmentally friendly. She previously had an indoor wood furnace and had a fire inside the furnace; the house filled with smoke with her baby inside, the fire department was delayed in getting there; never has to worry about this again. Homeowners insurance will allow billing to the fire department – the town could bill for calls. She does not burn trash and the town should enforce the law with those that do. How about raising taxes to provide curbside trash pickup? She has saved thousands of dollars in 21 years by burning wood. She presented a letter to the clerk outlining these opinions and asked that it be keep on record.
Dan Hudon, Jr. – improvements have been made to these outdoor furnaces such as to heat water. He had a fire in his home while using an indoor furnace, which set the attic on fire. These furnaces are the same furnaces as those installed inside homes and use the same wood. The issue of zoning approval for changing furnaces was brought up. Scheidelman responded that no zoning approval is needed for this as furnaces are regulated under the state building code.
Bill Hartnagel - he is a Doctor and Pulmonolgist. Wood stoves do not put chemicals in the air – they are naturally there. The particulate may increase but this can be controlled by regulating the height of the chimney. Burning wet wood can cause a bad smell that may offend people.
Jody Hudon – outdoor furnace manufacturers are working with the Environmental Protection Agency for emissions standards. Outdoor furnaces are safer than indoor and are a renewable heating source. She quoted from a 1998 EPA report that stated the emissions from outdoor wood burning furnaces are the same as other wood burning appliances.
Valerie Collins – does not understand why outdoor furnaces are different than indoor furnaces. Scheidelman stated that the board does not know why and has to study both sides.
Jeff Roberts – asked how many permits for outdoor furnaces were issued in the town in the last 12 months and how many are expected in the future.
CEO Ken Cutler - replied that none have been issued in the town, just one in the Village of Barneveld. Comments from the public – apparently most residents don’t know a permit is required to install one. Scheidelman feels there will be many applications coming up with the high oil prices.
Rosette Schureman – has concerns over the amount of smoke in the Mapledale business area that is coming from one place.
Darryl Wood – if the town bans outdoor furnaces it will have to ban all types of wood burning, including inside sources and backyard campfires. They all use the same wood.
Dan Hudon, Jr. – his business in the town is expanding and he hopes to continue, but he will move his business out of Trenton if the Town Board bans outdoor furnaces. He compared his heating costs using wood with other businesses in the town that use other sources of heat. He admits that his furnaces produce a lot of smoke and if his smoke stacks are not high enough he will come into compliance to solve the problem.
Ken Ray – owns several properties in the Town of Greece and has done research with his partner on using outdoor furnaces to save money, thus keeping rental costs lower. The Town of Greece is in favor of these furnaces and want to see more of them. Trenton does not need a small petition against them to stop progress in the town.
Princia Benson – quoted more findings in the Eliot Spitzer report. Outdoor furnaces are not regulated and do not have follow the same standards as indoor furnaces. How is an outdoor furnace not dangerous as far as a fire hazard?
Dan Hudon, Sr. – furnace makers are making improvements in outdoor furnaces. Our forefathers gave their lives to have freedom. Elected officials should be a servant of the people, not just the environmentalists.
Tom Vincent – has asthma and allergies and works around wood burning furnaces all day long; his health has actually gotten better.
Kate Kocyba – People should look at gas pollution more than wood burning furnaces. If the furnaces are a problem just make the stacks higher. Canada allows these furnaces. Consider what the community will have to spend for their heating costs.
Ira Davis – wood stoves are a disease with their smoke and should be cleaned up.
Bill Hartnagel – wood burning causes no net carbon; it’s the only one that doesn’t.
Mark Hoffman – has 150 acres and few people around him; these outdoor furnaces shouldn’t be banned.
Valerie Collins – is it because people don’t like the looks of them? Zoning regulates too much already. This is going too far. The town is regulating us to death.
Don Cannon – has an outdoor boiler and feels it is safer than the indoor one he had previously. Years ago people wanted to ban power lines and phone lines because they were worried about the dangers. Technology will make outdoor ones even better.
Ken Ray – why does the town need a moratorium? Why doesn’t the board just let the Planning Board study this for six months, then the board can review it again at that time. Scheidelman replied that this is an option.
Tim Dunn – sells insurance and has never had a house fire from an outdoor furnace; they are safer.
Scheidelman asked for a poll of the audience; those in favor of a moratorium – 3; those opposed to moratorium – the rest of the room; those who feel more studies are needed – about half of the room; those who oppose more studies – about half of the room. Scheidelman explained that the proposed law has been sent to the Oneida County Planning Department for review. Their findings are not back yet – they could deny, approve with modifications or state it will only have local effects. The Town Board cannot act on this law tonight but will discuss at the October meeting. The Town Board has never considered a total ban, just considering regulations. If the Planning Board and the Town Board come up with proposed regulations another public hearing will be held.
David Hudon – needs to know now if he can install an outdoor furnace; he can’t wait six months as the winter heating season is almost here. He asked if he could put the furnace in his garage – this would be considered indoors and then he would not need a permit. Scheidelman said he could do this but he does need a permit as furnaces are regulated by the state building codes. If he wants to put it outside he will need a zoning permit.
With no further public comments, the hearing was closed at 9:05 p.m.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
The monthly meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Trenton was held at the Trenton Municipal Center, Barneveld, NY. Supervisor Mark Scheidelman called the meeting to order at 9:25 p.m. Present: Councilmen Betsy Mack, Bruce Kellogg, Joseph E. Smith; Attorney Tom Hughes. Absent: Councilman Shirley Poland.
MINUTES: The minutes of August 10, 16, 24 & September 7 were approved as corrected.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
Ansley Schmitt – submitted the Planning Board’s recommendation for Home Occupations. They have added a Minor Home Office for a small home business with no signs, increased traffic or additions to the home, which would be a special use permit. They would also like a change to enable the Planning Board to approve home occupations instead of the Zoning Board of Appeals. They feel this will reduce confusion and make it a one step process and more efficient for these small businesses. The Planning Board has worked hard on this and it took 11 drafts to come up with the final one.
Scheidelman informed Ansley about Scott Sanborn’s proposed water company on Cheese Factory Road. The NYS DOT will not give him an exit ramp off Rt. 12 so he has approached another landowner to purchase additional land. He will need a zoning change. Scheidelman advised Ansley to send him a letter informing him that the Planning Board has not approved anything as yet.
Jeanne Brown – informed the board of the Digital Towpath annual meeting on September 30. Digital Towpath projects will be addressed along with looking at municipalities as cooperatives. Rural Development is available for building infrastructure in rural areas, which would include extending broadband connections. Digital Towpath has recently received two awards: Best of New York – Applications Serving the Public from the Government Technology Center, and Best Practices for Policy from the NYS Forum for Information Resource Management. There are now 65 municipalities using Digital Towpath for their websites. Jeanne also reported that the town’s website software has been updated and expanded. She suggested that the Website Committee meet to discuss enhancements to the website, especially increasing the information on the Trenton Falls Trails. There have been several thousand hits on the website for specific information on the trails.
Gary Christiana – asked what the procedure will be for outdoor wood furnaces. Scheidelman stated that the board will vote at the October meeting after receiving the County Planning Board’s recommendations. Scheidelman is not in favor of a moratorium but the town does need to regulate these furnaces. Smith stated that he would be in favor of no moratorium and let people install them now. When regulations are established the town could go back and make these people meet the regulations. Attorney Hughes is not sure this can be done. CEO Ken Cutler told the board that the state building code could be used now to regulate outdoor furnaces. Gary asked if the Planning Board’s meetings dealing with outdoor furnaces will be published. Scheidelman feels the board needs to review zoning regulations as per accessory structures for outdoor furnaces.
Maria Fibiger (NOCCOG representative) – told the board that the annual NOCCOG dinner meeting will be held on October 27 at the Franklin Hotel in Rome. NOCCOG is also applying for another cooperative State Archives Grant to enhance the real property indexing grant that was just completed. It will add a training component for those using the index and also to take this information and provide it to the public through the town’s website. Maria needs to know by the next meeting if the town is interested in joining in on the grant application. Having this information on the website would cut down on the hours needed in the Zoning, Codes and Town Clerk’s office gathering this information for the public. Ken Cutler agreed that this would free up a lot of his time in the office.
Gerry Ritter will be returning as a Circuit Rider for NOCCOG and along with Harlan Moonan, they may take turns attending different municipal meetings. A workshop on October 6 will be held at SUNY IT concerning outdoor wood burning furnaces and cargo storage containers. Scheidelman asked Maria if she could obtain any information on outdoor wood burning furnaces that would help the board.
CODES: Ken Cutler reviewed the August codes report. He told the board that he refused a new home in Windsong Mobile Home Park because the park’s annual operating permit has not been approved by the Town Board.
05-113 HIGHWAY ABSTRACT: Motion by Kellogg, second by Smith to pay audited Highway Abstract 05-09 (199 – 216) in the amount of $15,520.00. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-114 GENERAL ABSTRACT: Motion by Mack, second by Kellogg to pay audited General Abstract 05-09 (634 – 747) in the amount of $122,532.27. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-115 HIGHWAY AGREEMENT: Motion by Kellogg, second by Smith to approve the Shared Highway Service Agreement, which outlines the sharing of highway department equipment and services with other municipalities (copy attached). Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-116 SNOW REMOVAL CONTRACTS: Motion by Smith, second by Mack to authorize Attorney Tom Hughes to draw up the annual snow removal contracts with the villages. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-117 APPOINTMENT TO BOARD OF REVIEW: Motion by Mack, second by Kellogg to appoint Scott Collins to the Independent Board of Review for a five year term ending 9/30/10. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-118 MILEAGE: Motion by Kellogg, second by Smith to raise the mileage reimbursement for town employees on town business conducted outside the town to $.485 per mile. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
05-119 COOMBS ROAD WATER: Motion by Smith, second by Kellogg to award the Coombs Road Water District construction project to the low bidder (as per the bid opening Sept. 13, 2005), contingent upon USDA approval, to Highlander Construction, Memphis, NY at $646,500.00 as per recommendation of Engineer Don Ehre. This bid does not include bringing the service line to each house. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
USDA requires that the town hire a full time Clerk of the Works and will need to see the resume and contract of the person hired by the town. Notice seeking a Clerk will be published.
MAPLEDALE, BARNEVELD, SOUTH TRENTON SEWERS: Mayor Hinge was informed of the town’s plan to exclude South Trenton in the proposed sewer project. More income surveys have been brought in from Windsong Mobile Home Park; the owner of Mapledale Acres does not want to allow anyone in the park to obtain the surveys.
HINCKLEY SEWERS: Scheidelman talked with Faith Burke to see if she is willing to sell her vacant parcel for the project. She is not opposed to selling but is worried what the treatment plant will look like.
05-120 BRASCAN AGREEMENT: Motion by Kellogg, second by Smith to authorize the Supervisor to sign the
Confidentiality Agreement with Brascan pending the recommendation of both Attorney Hughes and Attorney Paul Nolan. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
TOWN PARK: Highway Superintendent Art Hughes will look at the berm that needs to be installed. Wood chips or stone is needed to be installed under the playground equipment. Agreed to go with pea stone, at 6 inches deep, which is the cheapest.
PIERCE ROAD EXTENSION: The town deed has been filed with the County Clerk.
PRIMARY DAY: Everything went well with having District #1 South Trenton at the Municipal Center. The Election Inspectors stated they enjoyed working in the building.
ADOPT A PLATOON: The clerk reported that the last shipment to the town’s adopted platoon was made last month. Another platoon will be assigned to the town but probably not until December. Agreed that the town will continue to accept donations now and to keep them for the next platoon.
EZ STOP: Attorney Hughes spoke with the Attorney for NYS DEC concerning ownership of the property. There are no hidden liabilities and both the town and county can back out at any time.
TRENTON FALLS GORGE TRAILS: The trails will be open the first two weekends in October. The Highway Department will install signs directing traffic to slow down.
05-121 Agreed to make a 4-way stop at the four corners in Trenton Falls and to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph where the limit is 30 MPH now. These regulations will be in effect for the first two weeks in October only. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
Kellogg suggested that food and drinks should be provided for the volunteers at the two weekends the trails are open. The fire departments and ambulance company could be asked if they would like to sell hotdogs and water; this would be a good fundraiser for them. Will have to check with Brascan’s insurance company first.
HW GARAGE CONTAMINATION: The new testing well has been dug and no contamination has been detected in the soil around the well; the water will be tested in one to two weeks.
GREENBELT: The Greenbelt Committee met on site to discuss this winter’s logging. No agreement has been made on where they want to go, but Chairman Brian Miga promised it will get settled soon.
IROQUOIS GRANT; Mack met with Anita Flannigan and she is interested in providing funding toward the parking lot at Trenton Falls, along with a possible dock at the site. She also looked at the handicapped access area at the Trenton Falls Gorge trail and advised the board to make a priority list when filling out the application. The application needs to be submitted by September 30. $11,000 is needed to purchase the property and $5,000 to build the parking lot. Dave Youlen, from Brascan,
has grant money for small projects such as the parking lot or the handicapped access.
KAIN LAWSUIT: Jury selection has been scheduled for the pending court case involving an injury at the Town Park.
FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS: Smith has been unable to find ceramic roofing to repair the roof at the paint shop. He is recommending a used oil burner for the paint shop. If this doesn’t work it can always be switched over to #2 oil.
Scheidelman has hired Ken Morrison as Parks Maintenance Supervisor at $9.00 per hour and he will work 24 hours per week. James Spagnolia has been hired as a Laborer to work with Ken 40 hours per week at a pay rate not to exceed $8.00 per hour. Ken may be interested in working full time next year.
SPEED LIMITS: NYS DOT has established a full time 35 MPH speed limit on Thompson Road from the Holland Patent village line to a point approximately 0.6 mile north of the village line, which is in the area of the High School.
CAMPING TRAILERS: The Planning Board feels no change is needed in the definition of camping trailers. Scheidelman does not agree and would like to review this again.
SOUTH TRENTON KIOSK: County Legislator Brian Miga is asking the town for $2,000 to help finance the kiosk in South Trenton due to the county not having enough money to finish the project. No decision was made at this time. Brian can make a presentation to the board if he would like to.
INSURANCE: Scheidelman talked with NYMER but feels Selective Insurance is the better deal for the town at this time.
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT: Art Hughes would like to do more roads this season and has left a list with the board.
05-122 Motion by Smith, second by Kellogg to approve the additional roads if there is enough money in the budget and Art
provides the board with an amended Agreement to Spend Highway Funds. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, aye. Motion carried.
ZONING: The August zoning report as submitted by Steve Hunter was reviewed by the board.
TOWN CLERK’S REPORT: The August report was reviewed by the board. Total revenues - $1,146.50; amount to Supervisor - $536.40. The clerk feels conservation license sales are down this year probably due to Oneida County being designated a containment area for chronic wasting disease.
TOWN COURT: It was reported that this week there were two instances of vandalism in the men’s room on both Monday and Tuesday night court. Scheidelman suggested that the Court Attendant should check the men’s room following court.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION: The committee has decided not to hire a Director at this time and try to set up the program by themselves. They will then meet with the Town Board at a later date to see where the program is going.
05-123 FINANCE OFFICER’S REPORT: Motion by Smith, second by Mack to approve the August Finance Officer’s Report with an ending balance of $931,056.85. Roll call: Mack, aye; Kellogg, aye; Smith, aye; Scheidelman, abstain. Motion carried.
ASSESSOR: Dean Burth has suggested that the board approve a local law that would give volunteer firemen a reduction on their property assessment. Agreed to hold a public hearing on this local law October 12 at 7:30 p.m.
REPORTS: Reports and minutes were reviewed from ZBA and Planning Board.
VOTING AT SOUTH TRENTON: Smith would like to see the following at the South Trenton Community Hall before voting is held there again: improvement of structural integrity of the building, improved driveway and parking, better outdoor lighting, restrooms and handicapped accessibility.
COMMUNICATIONS: On file in the Supervisor’s office
With no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 p.m.