2011 Oct. 6: NJ Lower Township (Cape May County): (Disorderly Conduct charges against Wood Smoke allowed) Lower residents will be able to file charges over smoke
Shore News Today
7 meeting, after residents appeared at three straight council meetings with their concerns about a neighbor’s outdoor wood furnace. Diane Martin, of South Andrielle Lane, spoke briefly, thanking the council for having passed the ordinance and urging …
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Council approved the ordinance on the final vote after a public hearing. It was introduced at the Sept. 7 meeting, after residents appeared at three straight council meetings with their concerns about a neighbor’s outdoor wood furnace.
Diane Martin, of South Andrielle Lane, spoke briefly, thanking the council for having passed the ordinance and urging that local regulations be changed to increase acreage and setback requirements for anyone else seeking to install an outdoor furnace.
“I hate to call the police regarding a smoke issue, but November is coming and I imagine it will start soon,” said Martin. Township manager Mike Voll told Martin that the police were ready to respond to neighborhood complaints on the issue, and Mayor Michael Beck reminded the subdivision residents the complaints won’t have any affect if they don’t appear in court to back them.
“We need the cooperation of the neighborhood,” said Beck. “We need people to stand up and back the complaints they make.”
Voll reported that the Planning Board will consider the issue of outdoor wood burners at its Oct. 20 meeting.
“It is on the Planning Board’s agenda,” Voll said.
Neighbors maintain that the outdoor furnace produces smoke that permeates their homes, ruing their quality of life.
Residents have previously spoken out at council meetings regarding the problems they say the smoke creates.
“I’ve talked to Mike Voll, he’s been to my house,” said Michael Hako, an Andrielle Lane resident, at the Sept. 7 meeting. “This wood burner is within 50 feet of my porch. I couldn’t open windows. My eyes are burning from the smoke that gets into my house.”
“This thing belongs on in the Poconos on 30 acres, not in this area,” said Hako.
A dozen residents voiced similar concerns at the Aug. 15 meeting. They indicated that they have brought this issue to township authorities since June of 2010.
Donohue has said that while the township can enact measures regulating certain aspects of outdoor structures, such as the size and placement of chimneys, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has specific regulations dealing with outdoor smoke.
Resident Nick Thompson has indicated that he has been unable to sell his house because of the “terrible, acrid smoke that permeates everything.”