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   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Wording proposed for ordinance amendment to regulate the use of outdoor wood boilers

    On July 20, Supervisors agreed to give the go-ahead for a formal review of draft rules to address the use of outdoor wood boilers in King George.
    To be clear, the proposed ordinance would have no effect on wood stoves operated inside homes, since regulations are already in place for them.
    Outdoor wood boilers are also called outdoor wood furnaces.  They are freestanding units that provide heat and hot water for residences.  They heat water by burning wood or other fuel stuff, 24 hours/day, some in use every day of the year.
    (See related article in the 9-1 Journal Paper.)
    Earlier this month on August 10, the Planning Commission reviewed the proposed ordinance change for outdoor wood furnaces.

WORDING OF THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT    
    The zoning ordinance text amendment as currently proposed would add some associated definitions as well as to add a section to the zoning ordinance.
    The primary effect of the text amendment would be to provide regulation on setbacks from property lines and a requirement for a chimney, but only if the outdoor wood furnace is within 300 feet of neighboring houses.
    The proposal would amend Section 1.9 – Definitions King George County Zoning Ordinance:
        Outdoor Wood Furnace.  Any equipment, device, appliance or apparatus, or any part thereof, which is installed, affixed or situated outdoors and is hand-loaded or continuously fed (automatically fueled) for the purpose of combustion of fuel to produce heat or energy used as a component of a heating system providing heat for any interior space or water source. An outdoor wood furnace may also be referred to as an outdoor wood boiler, or hydronic heater.
        Chimney. Flue or flues that carries off exhaust from an outdoor wood furnace firebox or burn chamber.
        Natural Wood.  Wood, which has not been painted, varnished or coated with a similar material, has not been pressure treated with preservatives and does not contain resins or glues as in plywood or other composite wood products.

The proposal would amend Article 4, Supplemental Regulations by adding the following:  

Section 14.3.1 Outdoor wood furnaces. Outdoor wood furnaces shall conform to the following:
    a. No person shall, from the effective date of this local law, construct, install, establish operate or maintain an outdoor wood furnace other than in compliance with the applicable sections of the King George County Zoning Ordinance and the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions. In the event of conflict, the requirements of the more strict, stringent or restrictive provision shall prevail and apply.
    b. The owner of any new outdoor wood furnace shall be required to obtain, keep, maintain and produce the manufacturer’s owner’s manual or installation instruction to the Zoning Administrator for review.
    c. All outdoor wood furnaces shall be laboratory tested and listed to appropriate safety standards such as UL, CAN/CSA, ANSI or other applicable safety standards.
    d. If an outdoor wood furnace is creating a nuisance and/or prevents a significant interference with the rights of other property owners, as defined by law, the following steps may be taken by the owner and the appropriate department having jurisdiction:
        1. Modifications made to the unit to eliminate the nuisance such as extending the chimney, or relocating the outdoor wood furnace or both.
        2. Cease and desist operating the unit until reasonable steps can be taken to ensure that the outdoor wood furnace will not be a nuisance.

Section 14.13.2 Outdoor Wood Furnaces shall be constructed, established, installed, operated and maintained pursuant to the following conditions:
    a. Fuel burned in any new or existing outdoor wood furnace shall be only natural wood, wood pellets, corn products, biomass pellets or other listed fuels specifically permitted by the manufacturer’s instructions such as fuel oil, natural gas or propane backup.

Section 4.13.3 Setbacks for any outdoor wood furnace model:
    a. The outdoor wood furnace shall only be permitted within the Rural Agricultural (A-2) and/or Limited Agricultural (A-1) Zoning District.
    b. The outdoor wood furnace shall be located at least 50 feet from the property line.
    c. The outdoor wood furnace shall be located at least 100 feet from any residence that is not served by the outdoor wood furnace.
    d. The outdoor wood furnace shall be located on the property in compliance with manufacturer’s recommendations and or testing and listing requirements for clearance to combustible materials.

Section 4.13.4 Chimney heights for any outdoor wood furnace:
    a. The chimney shall extend at least 2 feet above the peak of any residence not served by the outdoor wood furnace located within 300 feet of such outdoor wood furnace.

~ WHAT’S NEXT?     Jack Green, Director of Community Development, told commissioners at their August meeting that the above wording for the proposed zoning ordinance text amendment was currently under a legal review by the County Attorney Matt Britton.
So, it’s possible that some wording changes could be made to the proposal prior its formal review planned next month by the Planning Commission.
    Commissioners were told the legal review was expected to be completed in time for advertisement of the proposal for a public hearing on Sept. 14.  Advertisement of the proposal was authorized for that date.
    If there are significant wording changes following Britton’s review, it’s possible that the public hearing could be put off for another month.
    After that public hearing and its review of the proposal, the Planning Commission would be expected to forward a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
    After that, Supervisors will be provided another chance to review the proposal and the Planning Commission’s recommendation, followed by authorizing advertisement of the proposed ordinance for an additional public hearing later this fall.
    That would ordinarily be followed by a vote to adopt or not adopt the proposed ordinance text amendment.
    Green had first provided reports to Supervisors on the topic of outdoor wood boilers in the end of 2009. The devices are also called outdoor wood furnaces or outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters.

By Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter


 

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