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Brick Council Passes Firewood Regulations In 4-3 Vote

Firewood (Credit: Christine Kongsvik/Flickr)

Firewood (Credit: Christine Kongsvik/Flickr)

Regulations on the storage and delivery of firewood in Brick will be regulated following complaints from residents that neighbors have been using their properties to run firewood businesses, complete with loud chainsaws running almost constantly.

The regulations faced criticism from some members of the public who viewed the ordinance as being too intrusive, leading the governing body to revise the law. Still, three of Brick’s seven council members opposed the ordinance at a meeting Tuesday night. Council members Marianna Pontoriero, Heather deJong and Susan Lydecker voted against the law’s passage.

Pontoriero said she felt the ordinance was “overly burdensome” and would not solve the true quality-of-life issue at hand – large-scale wood-cutting operations on residential properties.

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“The enaction, at this point in time, will create problems for people who have already started gathering wood for the season,” Pontoriero said.

A majority of council members, Council President Paul Mummolo along with Andrea Zapcic, Jim Fozman and Bob Moore, voted in favor of the ordinance, which states a maximum of five cords of wood will be allowed on a residential property at a time. The ordinance also states there must be a one-foot buffer between a neighbor’s fence and a stack of firewood. Residents can only have wood delivered once per month, according to law.

While the ordinance has generated some opposition, residents who have been dealing with wood strewn about neighboring properties and constant chain saw noise will find relief, Mummolo said. At one point during the meeting Tuesday, a photograph of a township home was circulated, showing massive amounts of wood being delivered in industrial-style dump containers.

“The disturbance is absolutely unbearable and outrageous,” said Ronald Stutesman, a resident who said he has had to contend with firewood deliveries and sawing on a neighboring property, adding that the ordinance may not go far enough.

“We can always modify this later, but we need something to stand on,” said Councilman Jim Fozman, explaining that the township has tried to crack down on such operations in the past, only to see the cases through out of court since the existing ordinances had “no teeth.”

“The judge couldn’t fine them or do anything,” Fozman said.

“It’s sad that we even have to entertain this, but we have quality of life issues out there,” Mummolo said. “There are people in town who are dealing with horrendous noise, chain saws running all day. That’s why we have to enact these types of things.”