AUGUSTA — Complaints about residents of residential areas cutting wood to sell for profit have city officials looking to better define commercial wood cutting versus cutting firewood to heat a home.

A proposal to let the Planning Board come up with a better way to distinguish between commercial wood cutting, which is only allowed in a few areas, and personal wood cutting, which is allowed throughout the city, will be discussed by the City Council Thursday.

The proposal was prompted by complaints from residents of the Outlet Road area, who said a neighbor has brought six tractor-trailer loads of logs to his Wilderness Way home since April and cut it up, possibly for resale.

“According to reports, this operation is almost continuous, it’s loud, it’s close to neighbors, and it’s going on well into the evening,” said City Manager William Bridgeo.

Stephen Langsdorf, city attorney, said the city’s rules against cutting wood commercially in residential zones could be more easily enforced if the city better defined commercial wood cutting.

Matt Nazar, deputy director of development services, said a starting point would be to define commercial cutting as anything over a certain amount of wood, for instance, 10 cords per year.

The proposal going to councilors Thursday would refer the matter to the Planning Board, asking the board come up with a definition of commercial wood cutting and recommend changes to the council.

Cutting and splitting wood at the same spot a tree was cut down is considered part of timber harvesting, Nazar noted, which is allowed in a wider area of the city than cutting up felled trees after they are brought to another site.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

In other business:

  • Councilors are scheduled to authorize spending up to $35,000 from the general fund to help make repairs to Pierce Drive, one of two entrances to Cony High School and Capital Area Technical Center. The $35,000 would cover about half the cost of proposed repairs, with the school department to be asked to consider spending a like amount on the proposed repair.
  • The council will consider authorizing the sale of a surplus 1985 fire truck to the state Department of Corrections for $3,500.
  • The council will consider accepting a $10,000 grant from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety for impaired driving enforcement.
  • The council will hear presentation on Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

 

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