ZBA to hear board appeal

LITCHFIELD – After working for his grandfather’s business, William Morin wants to start his own business producing firewood.

The 19-year-old wants to turn logs, which are harvested on his property and delivered there, into firewood.

Before he can do so, Morin needs approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board.

Code Enforcement Officer Roland Bergeron approved the use, but said Morin needed to go before the Planning Board for site plan approval.

The Planning Board, however, appealed Bergeron’s interpretation that the business was allowed in a residential area. The ZBA is scheduled to discuss the appeal Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

“The Planning Board’s opinion is that the proposed use of that land is outside the boundaries of allowable uses,” Planning Board member John Blackadar said.

The area is zoned for residential and agricultural uses. The Planning Board wrote a letter to the ZBA stating that it interpreted the use as a business processing imported logs into firewood.

“The forestry products are not produced, cultivated, grown or harvested on the site,” the letter states.

The processing itself is not farming or connected to farming, the board’s letter states. This contrasts to Bergeron’s description of the business as an agricultural one.

Morin has been working with his grandfather processing wood for firewood at his grandfather’s business in Lebanon. He estimated that he would be using about 1 acre on the Pinecrest Road property, which is about 30 acres.

While wood would be delivered, he also hopes to harvest timber on the property. Trees on the property were harvested about eight years ago to promote the growth of hardwood trees, he said.

Once the wood is delivered, a wood processor with a chain saw and splitter would be used to convert the logs into firewood. The wood then would be delivered to customers in dump trucks.

“I never have to touch it,” he said.

Most customers buy two cords of wood, and the average wood delivery can yield 10-16 cords of wood, Morin said. One delivery of wood could result in eight to 16 trips to deliver firewood, he said.

Morin has spoken to one neighbor, who had some concerns about traffic and noise. However, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, he said. “Most everyone is excited about me starting my own business,” he said.