Last wood-burning furnace in Stoughton must be extinguished by May (WI)

Furnace owner now in compliance with ordinance

By: Bill Livick,
Jan 22, 2016

The only person allowed to use an outdoor wood furnace in the city will be able to continue to do so until May.

That was the decision the Common Council made at its Jan. 12 meeting last week in a 10-2 vote.

Alds. Tom Majewski (Dist. 3) and Michael Engelberger (D-2) cast the only votes against a resolution allowing the furnace to operate until May 1.

Supporters of the resolution said they wanted to give the furnace owner time to transition to another heat source, and cited the fact that he told officials he spent $3,000 on “clean wood” for heating his building at 556 E. Main St. this winter.

Majewski and Engelberger argued the furnace is fouling the air and creating a health hazard for people who have to breathe the smoke and exhaust from the furnace. The city has received about 10 complaints relating to the furnace.

In May 2015, the council adopted an ordinance prohibiting the use of outdoor furnaces in the city. But rather than ban the furnaces entirely, it “grandfathered” in two existing furnaces as long as they met specific criteria.

One furnace owner couldn’t meet the criteria and abandoned the furnace, while the other, Chis Overson, has continued to use his.

Overson, a local Realtor, operates the furnace on East Main Street. Smoke from the furnace has drawn complaints from residents, who described the fumes as noxious. Overson told officials he’s burning only “clean wood” in the unit, which he purchased before the ordinance change.

Planning director Rodney Scheel explained that the city had sent Overson a notice that his furnace was not in compliance with the ordinance change adopted in 2015. Overson appealed to the Public Safety Committee and prevailed in a 3-2 vote recommending that the council allow him to continue using his furnace.

Scheel said at the time the city sent Overson the notice, his smoke stack that didn’t meet the 20-foot requirement established in the 2015 ordinance… READ FULL ARTICLE AT CONNECTSTOUGHTON.COM >>