Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Palo Alto



Thanks. It's going to get worse here. Palo Alto figured out the EPA/BAAQMD req'ts so no longer allowing any wood burning nor grandfathering in existing wood burning if moved or rebuilt. Ditto in Los Altos Hills. The loop hole for many towns is that some allow a wood burning fireplace if exterior in the landscape.


Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006
From: "Bill Rose"
Cc: "John Hanna" ,
"Richard" ,
"Kevin Oatman" ,
"Cynthia Ruelas"

Mr. Buckley,

I have a client in Palo Alto that wants to install 3 interior rumford fireplaces and probably one exterior. The Palo Alto ordinance is not clear although there is an exemption for a fireplace "Certified by an EPA-accredited laboratory as being compliant with the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District standards for fireplaces, using that district's testing protocol for fireplaces."

We would greatly appreciate your insight or assistance in obtaining this approval. Sincerely,

Bill Rose

Bill Rose
Director of Business Development
De Mattei Construction
1794 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126
408-350-4200 p
408-286-6589 f


    That language is a result of a law suit that we brought against San Jose and Palo Alto a few years ago when they only allowed fireplaces that met a non-existent EPA standard. This is better. Although, to my knowledge, no fireplace has ever been approved in Northern Sonoma County, we have tested to Northern Sonoma County standard in 2000 as reported at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html

    I recommend that you print off our test results and the cover letter from OMNI (the third party EPA-accredited laboratory) and submit it to the Palo Alto plans examiner with your application for a permit. Let's see what happens.

    If they should deny your application I think you have a couple of options:

    1) Build the fireplace and install gas logs like the ones at http://www.rumford.com/store/gaslogs.html

    2) Appeal the decision.

    Best of all might be to get your permit based on installing the gas logs but build one of the "Certified Rumfords" anyway and appeal the decision not to allow wood-burning after you've got the occupancy permit.

    Let me know whatever they say. I will be in that area in January. Maybe I can go with you to see the building official.

    Jim Buckley


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