Wood Smoke Stories

Neighbor’s new garage brings misery

We bought our house from our neighbor in 2007, with him taking a chunk out of the property line for a future garage. Had we known what he was planning on heating with we would not have bought the house. So for 9 years we lived in peace and had no air issues except randomly in the summer having to shut off a.c.’s because of other neighbors’ outside campfires.

Then the neighbor built his garage and we saw the smoke stack…15.7 feet away from my house, overlooking my yard because he had notched out part of the property line upon the sale of the house, and directly across from my deck doors leading to out back where my dog and children play. It’s not even a real garage — it is a wrestling gym with mats, weights, sauna, lawn mower, leaf blower, weed eater, gasoline… He has $$ cuz he also has a brand new in-ground heated pool…

He said he heats with wood because he gets it for free on his land… But I digress… The garage changed the wind pattern and now we can smell smoke from other places in town too that we didn’t even know had woodstoves. And the smoke from his stove pipe starts black for 10–15 minutes and then also swirls between the garage and my house for hours whenever he burns (he lights it with paper and embers have landed on my roof!!!). His response when told the smoke — not just smell — was in our house was that the garage was his dream and he would heat it with whatever source he wanted…. Cuz we don’t have a dream for our family, we just bought this house for giggles… ?

D.E.C had mistakenly given us hope that he would have to stop as his smoke is violating 2 D.E.C codes and village nuisance codes, but the village says he’s not (that code about smoke entering another’s property is “basically/usually” referring to outdoor wood fires — is what I was told. Even though the code doesn’t use those words basically/usually or outdoor wood fire… Just noxious odors, smoke, gaseous emissions, etc.) and the village said that D.E.C would have to enforce the 2 D.E.C codes but D.E.C says the village has to… So we have spent tons of $$ sealing our house… During the summer he also uses a big belly smoker right next to our property line and it blows under our newly installed deck roof! If we hadn’t just lost two jobs and now have 3 small boys and 1 income we would try to move.  Fun times here in NY.