Council Approves Outdoor Woodburner Ban

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A large crowd assembled at the Milford City Council Chambers on Monday, July 25 to hear the debate during the final public hearing on outdoor woodburning furnaces. The Adoption of Ordinance 2011-5 on Outdoor Woodburning Furnaces would ban the operation and possession of any outdoor woodburning furnaces in the City of Milford as of August 31. During the public hearing many neighbors of the Carr family on SE 2nd street, owners of an outdoor burning furnace, stood in front of the Council with their complaints and evidence of its negative effects on surrounding properties and the health of immediate neighbors.

Linda Carr, owner of the said outdoor woodburning furnace, stood in front of Council to defend her position and ask that the furnace be grandfathered into the new ban. “We went to the City before we started the $30,000 process of building our furnace,” stated Linda. “We went to the City first so we didn’t have to go through this.”

Earlier this month the Planning Commission met to make a recommendation on the ordinance to approve a ban on the outdoor woodburning furnaces. The Planning Commission took a vote to approve the ordinance which failed 6-0, recommending Council to not approve the ban citing that the timetable for removal of a furnace was too short . Under the City of Milford Charter a 2/3 vote was necessary to override the recommendation of the Planning Commission and approve the ban.

Councilman Garrett Grier made a motion, based on what he stated as the concerns and health of his constituents, to approve the ban on outdoor woodburning furnaces. An amendment to the ordinance, added by Councilman Morrow, that would add that furnaces must cease operation by August 31 but extend the removal of the unit until October 31 was accepted and the ban was unanimously approved by the Council.

After the public hearing the Council meeting was called to order and Council began to vote on unfinished business. The Adoption of Ordinance 2011-15 to amend the 2008 Comprehensive Plan to Include Southeast Master Plan was accepted unanimously. The City of Milford’s Comprehensive Plan required revisions to account for physical changes and potential growth in the Southeast Planning Area which have occurred in both the built and natural environments of the community.

Council voted on funding for Evaluation Services on the City of Milford Property Assessment Project. The project includes a complete physical reappraisal of all taxable real estate, and exempt real estate within the corporate limits of the City of Milford, Delaware, as of January 1, 2012, in accordance with Delaware General Statutes 12-62. The reappraisal will include all taxable real estate, land, buildings and improvements, all exempt real estate, land, buildings and improvements and all public utility land and buildings. Council voted unanimously to approve the funding for the project come from the electric reserves.

The Planning Commission presented the names of individuals to be appointed to the Commission for a term of three years. The Council unanimously approved the appointment of Charles Rini, Kim Hoey-Stevenson and Gregory Picca.

The next Council meeting will be held Monday, August 8 at the Joseph Ronnie Rogers Council Chambers at City Hall at 7pm.