MELROSE, WI - An Amish furniture maker is looking for a new location to build his pieces after he was denied a permit to operate a sawmill in an area zoned for agricultural use.
Working in the Amish tradition, Yoder crafts handmade tables, chairs, bed frames and other furniture projects, many of them made-to-order.
In February 2014 Wilbur Yoder, a Kendall, WI furniture builder, applied for a permit to conduct his home-based furniture-making business, as well as a sawmill, in Melrose, about 59 miles from his home.
This month the Jackson County Zoning Board, denied the permit, after fielding opposition to Yoder's petition from residents who feared an increase in traffic as well as the noise of the gas-powered sawmills.
But Terry Schmidt, administrator for the Jackson County Zoning Department, told Woodworking Network that Yoder is now on the hunt for another site for his business. “Right now Mr. Yoder’s plans are still up in the air. He’s looking for a place in a township that doesn’t have a zoning issue,” Schmidt said. Yoder does not have a telephone, and could not be reached for comment.
During the April meeting, Yoder said he wanted to expand his existing furniture business and tried to quell fears that he would develop a large sawmilling operation, according to the Lacrosse Tribune. His gas-powered sawmill would run indoors only, and on a limited basis, he said during the hearing - noting to the committee his woodshop was not a “big commercial business” and that the noise would be limited. Residents did say they did not object to a furniture making operation.
Once he finds a location, Yoder plans to move his family from its current Kendall home to the new sawmill, according to Schmidt, transporting his machinery by horse cart. Wisconsin has the fourth largest population of Amish people in the United States.
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