Litchfield residents appeal logging decision

LITCHFIELD – A group of residents has appealed a decision that could result in a firewood business opening in their neighborhood.

Twelve residents have appealed Code Enforcement Officer Roland Bergeron’s ruling that a business converting logs into firewood is permissible in a residential area.

Some residents said they are concerned about noise, traffic and safety issues if such a business opened.

Resident William Morin has proposed starting a business producing firewood at 80 Pinecrest Road. Using about an acre of land, he would process logs harvested on site and delivered there, turning them into firewood.

The final product would be delivered from the site.

Several months ago, Bergeron said the business was permitted in the residential area as an agricultural use.

The Planning Board appealed the decision claiming the use was commercial. The Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the appeal, saying the Planning Board had missed its filing deadline.

Residents, however, were still able to file an appeal since they learned of Bergeron’s decision months after the Planning Board did.

Morin needs site plan approval from the Planning Board before moving ahead with the business.

Morin said he plans to “follow it through to the end and hope for the best.”

The residents’ arguments mirror the Planning Board’s with residents writing that they interpret the proposal as a business.

“The fact that the logs will be brought in from off site on logging trucks separates this operation from one that could be considered forestry use,” the appeal letter states.

The residents also reference a cease and desist order Bergeron issued three years ago to a similar business. In that case, Bergeron wrote, that logging lumber from off-site and stockpiling it was considered a commercial activity in a residential area.

Resident Margaret Cuvellier said she has a “whole gamut of concerns” about the proposed business.

Cuvellier, who has a two-year-old daughter, said she’s worried about an increase in traffic and noise. Noting that the street has no sidewalks, she said, she was worried about the safety of people walking in the area and riding their bikes.

“Because the logs are being brought on site, I feel it’s a commercial business,” she said.