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Hearing set on outdoor furnace use

A public hearing will be held next month on a proposal by the Newstead Town Board to regulate the installation and operation of residential outdoor furnaces, whose primary fuel is wood.

In a 3-1 vote Monday, the board set a public hearing for 7:45 p.m. Aug. 27 in Town Hall, 5 Clarence Center Road, on ordering a review of such furnaces, particularly their safety and the health effects of their emissions.

Councilman Justin M. Rooney, who voted no, said after the meeting that in general he opposes regulating "what people do." Councilman Thomas R. George was absent from the meeting because he is on vacation.

In other business, the board:

*Learned from Supervisor David Cummings that department heads have until Aug. 6 to file their budget requests for the 2008 fiscal year. Budget discussions will begin in late September; a public hearing is set for Oct. 22 on the budget, which must be adopted by Nov. 20.

*Authorized the supervisor to apply for a grant of up to $25,000 from the East Hill Foundation of Clarence to be used for repairs to the Newstead Community Building. The facility, which is the former Denio Library, is used by Hearts & Hands, the town historian and other organizations and community groups.

*Extended a contract with the town grant writer for another six months -- through Dec. 31 -- at $1,000 a month. Councilman Harold L. Finger, noting he was the lone vote against creating the position, said he decided to "give her the benefit of the doubt" since he has heard there might be some grant applications filed in October and November.

*Adopted a local law governing the siting, installation and operation of windmills, which has been the subject of extensive environmental and other reviews and a public hearing. It will take effect upon filing with the office of the state secretary of state.

*Adopted a resolution, at the request of State Sen. Mary Lou Rath, acknowledging the state's "property tax crisis" and urging immediate passage of the state Property Taxpayer Protection Act, "which will help local governments reinvigorate New York's economy by providing incentives for people and businesses to move and stay here."

*Approved site plans for three subdivisions: six lots by Kevin Stoldt Jr. on Dorsch Road, 10 lots by LF One LLC at Billo and Hiller roads and seven lots by Joseph F. Frey on Cummings Road. Councilman Mark J. Decker, who cast the lone no vote on the latter, said Erie County "has a lot of caveats on that one," primarily regarding drainage.

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