Planners against repealing woodstove ban
A decade-old ban on new woodstoves in Glenwood Springs would be repealed under an ordinance to be considered by City Council tonight.However, city planners are recommending against loosening the city’s restrictions.Until more is known about the health impacts of wood smoke and what levels of air pollution from the stoves are tolerable, “it is premature to alter the current woodstove restrictions and open the city up to further pollution,” city planning staff members A’Lissa Gerum and Andrew McGregor said in a memo to council. McGregor is the city’s community development director.In 1987, council passed an ordinance requiring that any new stoves, including those replacing older ones, meet state-approved guidelines for emissions restrictions. In 1995, it banned installation of new stoves altogether, and also required that when a property with an existing, noncomplying stove is sold, it be replaced with a state-approved one within two years.Council decided to revisit the issue several months ago at the request of a resident who said new stoves burn much cleaner than those sold a decade ago, and that wood provides an affordable heating alternative at a time when the cost of electricity and natural gas is rising.But city planners questioned the latter rationale, when considering the cost of woodstoves, cleaning and inspecting stoves and chimneys each year, and cutting and hauling wood. They also raised concerns about particulate matter in wood smoke.”Although insufficient research has been completed to clearly delineate the health impacts of wood smoke, nearly two decades of epidemiological studies link particulate matter with heart and lung disease, aggravation of asthma and bronchitis, headaches, arrhythmias, heart attacks and premature death,” Gerum and McGregor wrote.”Higher rates of mortality are associated with the smaller particulates … which comprise the majority of the particulates contained in wood smoke. Inhalation of these particulates may also facilitate entry into the bloodstream of the 110 to 120 carcinogens contained therein.”Stoves now permitted to be sold in the United States eliminate about 65 to 74 percent of particulate-matter emissions, but heavy use and lack of maintenance can cause them to be as polluting as older, dirtier-burning stoves, Gerum and McGregor wrote.While recommending against a change, they provided a revised woodstove ordinance for council to consider, as it had requested. It would limit stoves to one per single-family dwelling, hotel, motel, lodge or restaurant. It also would require all existing woodstoves to be upgraded to the newer, cleaner versions within one year, “the tradeoff being that if more woodstoves will be allowed, existing stoves should become more efficient to help offset the ensuing air pollution increase,” according to the memo to council.Among other action tonight, City Council is scheduled to:- revisit the subject of a revised animal ordinance. Council earlier this year decided against limiting numbers of pets per household. Following further study of the issue by a group of residents, council will consider an ordinance that lets the city impound animals and cite owners in cases in which animals attack pedestrians or chase vehicles, run at large, are excessively noisy, create a substantial stench or unsanitary conditions on their own property, or defecate on other property without the owner cleaning it up.- consider banning motorized vehicles on city trails, with exceptions including emergency and maintenance vehicles, and those used by the disabled.- weigh an appeal of a decision by the city and its insurer not to pay about $24,500 in claims related to sewage backups. The city claims there was no negligence on its part in causing the backup in three homes on Brush Creek Lane in Glenwood Park. Council also may consider directing the city to create a program to help pay for backflow devices designed to prevent backups.- decide whether to revise a previous council ordinance calling for free, more frequent in-town bus service over a reduced area. Due to difficulties in the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority meeting the new schedule, the city Transportation Commission has recommended eliminating service to the Valley View Hospital area. It also suggests dropping council’s requirement to have Ride Glenwood stop at the planned RFTA park-and-ride and at the Gilstrap Conoco station, both in West Glenwood, beginning this fall.- provide a conceptual review of a proposal by Byron Vinger to build 23 townhomes in Lot 8 of Glenwood Auto Plaza, off Donegan Road.- consider an appeal by Terry Stark of the city Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a new office building at 807 Blake Ave. Stark is concerned about possible impacts to the foundation of his nearby home. Todd Leahy is the applicant for the office project.Council also is scheduled to hold a 7 a.m. breakfast work session and a 4:30 p.m. work session on the 2006 city budget today. The regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. All meetings will be held at council chambers, 101 W. Eighth St.
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