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Neighbors purchase proposed site

BENTON—Concerned neighbors Robert Krouse and Rosalie Ayres made a joint purchase offer with Ernest Martin on the site of a proposed bulk fuel storage facility in Benton located at 1633 Route 14A across from Hayes Auction Barn. This comes days after the Benton zoning board of appeals approved a special use permit application by Hometowne Energy during a special meeting Tuesday, July 16. This effectively shuts down Hometowne Energy’s ability to make an offer on the 34.5 acre property, which is listed for $139,000 on Krouse said they made the offer the day after the zoning board meeting and he would not disclose how much the purchase offer was for.
“It is a non-contingent offer,” Krouse said. “It was accepted and basically it means the deal was done.”
Krouse and Ayres had spoken at previous meetings in opposition of the proposed fuel storage facility, saying it is important to preserve the gateways into the village of Penn Yan. They said an unsightly facility and increased truck traffic would be detrimental to tourism as well as the nearby residences.
Hometowne Energy President John Campbell said the company wanted to use the site for the storage and distribution of 60,000 gallons of petroleum and diesel along with 30,000 gallons of propane. The application had already been approved by the Yates County planning board June 27 and had to be approved by the Benton zoning board of appeals before becoming final. Campbell said they wanted the application approved before making the financial investment into the property, which has been used as a dumping ground for the past several years.
Benton Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Jayson Hoover said more than 50 people had attended the special meeting, almost matching the turnout the meeting before when the application was tabled. He said the special use permit was approved in a three to two vote by the board, with board members George Alexander and Frank Kenny voting against the application.
Krouse said he and the members of the public attending were disappointed because there was no public comment period held during the meeting.
“Nobody got to speak,” Krouse said. “That was one of the things that irritated a lot of people. It was announced as a public hearing. In writing it was put down as a public hearing, and then the board headed by the chairman cancelled that as a public hearing so they did not allow any public comment.”
Krouse said there were some supporters of the storage facility at the meeting as well, and that the crowd was “fairly evenly split” in their opinion.






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