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MALTA: Residents steamed at boiler proposal

Following a Monday, July 2, public hearing on outdoor wood boilers, the Malta Town Board decided to discuss the matter further at a future workshop rather than adopt the proposed legislation, which would require a permit for all units by October 2008 and a complete ban on the units by June 2015.

At least a dozen people spoke on the subject, most of them against the proposed legislation, which was originally suggested when the town discovered that the number of existing units exceeded the estimate.

We thought there were about six, but there are probably more like 20, said Heather Mallozzi, director of building and planning for the town.

With no current permitting process in place, the town has no way of knowing exactly how many outdoor wood boilers are being used.

Resident Ernie Coons has heated his home for the past 20 years using an outdoor wood boiler system and said, in a letter read by Supervisor Paul Sausville, the proposed legislation was "too restrictive."

Those comments were echoed throughout the public hearing.

"It is an abundant renewable source of energy. We cannot see any reason why wood furnaces should be targeted," said Walt and Audrey Fitzgerald, also in a written statement.

The Fitzgeralds, who have been using an outdoor wood boiler for more than 14 years, were at the hearing, at which time Walt Fitzgerald questioned some of the definitions and stipulations included in the legislation.

"When the people made this up, they didn't really know how a wood furnace works," said Fitzgerald.

The proposed legislation was drafted after several complaints were made to the town regarding the use of outdoor wood boilers. Mallozzi said the complaints had been investigated and no citations had been handed out.

Resident Bob Lavery said he is one of the people who has lodged complaints over the years, specifically about a unit near his home. Lavery said he has woken up with headaches in the middle of the night and has twice been hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Lavery also said his smoke alarms go off regularly as a result of the smoke in the air.

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