Judge overrides Pierrepont ZBA on zoning rules for firewood processing

By BRIAN KELLY
BKELLY@WDT.NET

CANTON — A state Supreme Court judge has ruled that unlimited timber cannot be processed on town of Pierrepont properties zoned as rural-residential.

Judge Mary M. Farley’s decision is in response to an Oct. 15 town Zoning Board of Appeals determination that firewood processing activities at 161 County Route 29 could be classified as “forestry” under town zoning law and thus permissible.

An adjacent landowner, Frederick E. Biggs, appealed the designation to Supreme Court, contending the activities instead constitute a “natural resources based industry,” which is not an allowable use in a rural-residential district.

Town zoning law permits anatural resource based industry within districts designated as open countryside or agricultural residential, but only as a conditional use.

According to Judge Farley’s ruling, the issue arose when the disputed property’s owner, Duane Curtis, began transporting logs from other locations to the site to be processed into firewood by a mechanical wood processor.

The processed product was then trucked off site for sale.

The ZBA unanimously agreed that firewood processing was an allowable use at the site.

But Judge Farley disagreed that zoning regulations allowed for an unlimited amount of wood to be processed there.

Her decision states that, while the town’s definition of a natural resource based industry expressly references “the use of natural resources of the County as raw material,” the forestry designation “depends on the natural resources of the subject property.”

Read the full story at the Watertown Daily Times >>