The Greencastle City Council voted Tuesday night to give final approval to a new ordinance banning the use of outdoor, wood-burning heaters within the city limits.
This means no one living inside the city of Greencastle can install the so-called hydronic heaters that are becoming popular with homeowners looking to save on their energy costs. The ban does not apply to anyone in the city who already owns and operates one of these heating systems.
The idea for the ban was presented to the council last month and explained by Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent and City Planner Shannon Norman. They told the council that the wood-burning stoves emit high levels of smoke and by doing so, present a health risk to surrounding homes.
City officials said they have received complaints from residents who live near homes where these types of systems are being used.
Tuesday night, council members briefly discussed the ordinance before approving it 4-1.
Councilman T.J. Smith said he had the signatures of 50 residents within his district who are opposed to the ordinance banning the use of the heaters. He voted against approving the ordinance.
Other councilors, including John Lanie, Jinsie Bingham, Mark Hammer and Adam Cohen, said they received very few comments from the public regarding this issue. They voted to approve the ban.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to give final approval to a new ordinance requiring homeowners with homes that have been built with so-called "engineered lumber" to display notification on the outside of their dwellings.
Fire Chief Bill Newgent proposed the ordinance at last month's city council meeting, stating that because of the way homes with engineered lumber burn, it is important for firefighters to be aware that a home has been built with these materials.
"It's all about the safety of our firefighters," Newgent said.
He explained that unlike traditional, solid pieces of lumber, engineered lumber is a composite material put together with adhesives and sandwiched in by an outer layer of natural wood. The way the material is made causes it to burn differently than traditional lumber, he said.
Homes where engineered lumber is used in the construction of floors tend to burn more quickly and therefore collapse faster than traditional lumber, which poses an obvious risk to firefighters trying to put out the blaze.
The ordinance, which was approved unanimously by the council, requires all news homes built with these types of materials to display a sticker on the outside of the home that will indicate to firefighters that the home was build with engineered materials.
Residents of existing homes may display the stickers on a voluntary basis, Newgent said. He said he wanted to emphasize that homes with engineered lumber are believed to be of the same quality as those made with traditional lumber, however, they do burn differently.
The state building commission will have to approve Greencastle's ordinance before it would take effect. Newgent said he did not know when that would take place.