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Tyrone Borough Council addresses outdoor furnaces and open burning with new regulations

Tyrone Borough Council convened last evening at the municipal building for its August regular meeting. Council members Jim Grazier and Steve Hanzir were absent from the session.
On council’s agenda was the option to adopt new ordinances that addressed outdoor furnaces and open burning within the borough limits.
Borough Solicitor Larry Clapper presented council members Ordinance No. 1269 and Ordinance No. 1270, by which council then unanimously approved. The goal for the new ordinances is to provide regulation and safety for outdoor furnaces and open burning.
Ordinance No. 1269, “Regulation of Outdoor Furnaces,” includes the definition of acceptable and unacceptable fuels, provide for chimney height, minimum lot size, permit to construct and set back requirements, regulate the emission of smoke from outdoor furnace heating systems, provide for enforcement and penalties for violations, and provide for variances and provide an effective date.
The ordinance states that the term “outdoor furnace” is defined as “any equipment, device, apparatus or structure, or any part thereof which is installed, (excluding pre-existing flues for in-home heating systems) affixed or situated outdoors for the purpose of combustion of any type of fuel to produce heat or energy used as a component of a heating system providing heat for an interior space and/or water source.”
Outdoor furnaces are also known as “solid fuel heating devices” or “external heating devices.”
The borough wants to regulate outdoor furnaces due to safety concerns and the fact that the types of fuels used and the scale and duration of the burning by such furnaces create noxious and hazardous smoke, soot, fumes, odor, air pollution, particles, and other products of combustion that can be detrimental to borough residents’ health.
Outdoor furnaces can also deprive neighboring residents of the enjoyment of their property or premises, according to the borough, so regulating the furnaces aims to eliminate those problems.
Other municipalities have enacted legislation to either prohibit these devices or permit them, with restrictions, in order to reduce the creation of nuisances.
With the new ordinance, outdoor furnaces can’t be placed less than 100 feet from any other adjacent property owner’s structure and must have a chimney stack or something similar that also has a spark arrestor installed on top. The furnace can’t be placed less than 20 feet from the nearest point of intersection of the property line of another property owner.
There also must be an area of 20 feet around the outdoor furnace structure completely free of combustible material, including vegetation, except for grass not exceeding four inches in height. The minimum required lot size for an outdoor furnace is 40,000 square feet.
Outdoor furnaces can only burn “acceptable fuel,” which consists of all natural wood products (dried and without additives), coal, No. 2 heating oil, and agricultural seeds in their natural state, without additives. This does not include wet and/or painted, varnished or coated with similar material, pressure treated lumber, wood containing preservatives, resins, glue as in plywood, particle board or other composite wood, and railroad ties.
Other unacceptable materials consist of garbage and municipal waste, and recycling materials, including rubber tires.
The Borough Code Enforcement Officer, Jim Metzgar, must inspect all outdoor furnaces and associated installation to assure compliance. Permit provisions and a plan drawing is also necessary. All outdoor furnaces already in existence must comply with requirements within 90 days of the adopted ordinance.
“With the fuel costs it is now, we wanted to try and regulate these outdoor furnaces,” said Metzgar. “A lot of people are going to try and use various heating elements, whether it be coal furnaces or outdoor furnaces, so this is one thing we want to try and regulate in the borough.”
Metzgar added that “safety” is one of the borough’s biggest concerns that prompted the new ordinance. He said that a house could be burnt down with an outdoor furnace.
“We wanted to make sure we addressed some of the safety concerns with these furnaces, and what the burning materials are that should be used,” noted Metzgar.
He continued, “The purpose of this ordinance is to establish and impose restrictions upon the construction and operation of outdoor furnaces within the borough for the purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, and prosperity of the borough and its residents.”
The newly adopted Ordinance No. 1270, pertaining to open burning, amended the previous Ordinance No. 1176, which banned open burning in the borough. The new ordinance added the definition of “chiminea” and “fire pit,” and it provides regulations for burning ban exceptions and the establishment of an effective date.
“There was a lot of open burning within the borough from probably spring to summer, so we wanted to regulate it also,” stated Metzgar. “The substances that were being used was the biggest concern – people were just throwing anything in there –  so we wanted to regulate the materials you can and can’t burn.”
The ordinance states that “any fire set solely for cooking food, provided that the material to be burned is non-recyclable material” and that such burning is in compliance with the borough’s code. The open burning must be enclosed and must have a screen of sufficient strength. The fire pit must also be within reach of an operating water faucet and/or operating garden hose, which must be placed on privately owned property.
An open fire in the borough can’t be within 10 feet of a property line, and must be extinguished by 11 p.m. Any and all open permitted burning must be done under the consent and direct supervision of an adult of 18 years of age or older, and can’t be done when a strong breeze or wind is active.
Metzgar added, “The open burning is supposed to be for cooking only.”

Tyrone Borough Council approved the following items at last evening’s council meeting:
• A bid from W.E. Campbell Builders, Inc. for the base bid of $274,000 for the Reservoir Park Phase 1 and 2 project.
• $100 donation for the Labor Day Community Picnic.
• The reprogramming of CDBG funds for Reservoir Park.
• A patch paving bid for water and sewer departments was given to Duey Paving at $72.50 per square yard.
• Ordinance No. 1272 was adopted, which provides rules and regulations for use of borough facilities.
• Ordinance No. 1271 was adopted, which is an amendment to the fee ordinance and demolition fees.
Council tabled a decision to approve an evaluation of the borough’s watershed property by Casselberry and Associates, which would document the base flow discharge of the aquifer that supplies the reservoir on the watershed. Council members wanted to know more about what the evaluation consists of before moving forward.
Parking meters now accept nickels and dimes
Tyrone Borough officials stated that the parking meters within the borough limits have been re-calibrated recently and no longer take only quarters.
Now, parking meters will accept nickels, dimes and quarters. A nickel is worth six minutes; a dime is worth ten minutes and a quarter provides thirty minutes of parking.