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.

 

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 by Jackson County officials earlier this month.

In February Wilbur A. Yoder of Kendall, Wis. applied for a permit to conduct his home-based furniture making business, as well as a sawmill, on property located in the southeaster portion of the town of Melrose. In April the town board of Melrose denied Wilbur A. Yoder’s request to operate a sawmill, but approved a permit to allow furniture making, according to an article in the Lacrosse Tribune

During an April hearing before the Jackson County Zoning Board Yoder’s petition was also met with opposition by residents who feared an increase in traffic as well as the noise of the gas-powered machines would disturb the tranquil setting, according to the Lacrosse Tribune. Residents said they did not object to a furniture making operation, however.

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, the Tribune reported. Any use of the gas-powered engine would occur indoors and be on a limited basis, he said during the hearing. He told the committee his business was not a “big commercial business” and that the noise would be limited, according to the paper.

Terry A. Schmidt, the administrator for the Jackson County Zoning Department, said Yoder is seeking a new 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 planned to move his family from their current Kendall home to one in Melrose in order to be next to his sawmill, Schmidt said.

In Amish tradition Yoder crafts handmade tables, chairs, bed frames and other furniture pieces. Many of the pieces are made-to-order, Schmidt said. Amish craftsmen are known for creating quality contemporary and traditional furniture pieces. Wisconsin has the fourth largest population of Amish people in the United States.

Yoder does not have a telephone according to Schmidt and could not be reached for comment.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.