Reading approves gas project, amid concerns
READING—The Reading planning board approved Amerigas Inc. and property owner William Meehan to build two 30,000 above ground propane storage tanks, during the Thursday, Aug. 15, meeting.
The facility will be located on approximately 2.49 acres of land at 2883 County Line Road in Reading. The vote was preceded by a public comment, where several people of the 40 member audience spoke about the project. The majority of the people were against the project, citing environmental concerns.
Board Chairman Frank Gigliotti explained this application process started Dec. 15, 2011, with Amerigas looking to relocate storage tanks of equal dimensions to another part of Reading. He added the project has been under discussion and review at the monthly meetings since the 2011 meeting and added the proposal was available from the town clerk.
Several people who spoke also commented they knew little or nothing about the project. Sandra Steingraber, Trumansburg resident and biologist, asked the board to take the full 62 day period to “hear from experts not invested in the project.” She offered to give them information from other similar storage facilities.
Resident Peter Wood asked how the board expected knowledgeable questions from the public if the information wasn’t disseminated. Reading resident Jane Winters said she knew nothing about the project. She added, “we can’t make comments very well if we don’t have the information.”
“If you don’t know, don’t blame us,” said Gigliotti, adding the board is made up of volunteers and has limited time.
People also expressed concerns to the environment and increased truck traffic. Reading resident Steven Wertheim mentioned trucks. He added, “I’m not happy where it’s moving. It’s quiet, rural.” Hector resident Chris Tate talked about the potential impact to tourist events, like the recent NASCAR race.
“Just because you had it in the area doesn’t make it safe,” said Steingraber. “We once thought smoking was safe.”
Elaine Dalrymple, speaking as a private landowner, spoke in favor of the project. She said she initially had concerns about storm water runoff, but they were addressed by the planning board. Gigliotti added everything brought up during the hearing was already brought up and discussed by the planning board.
Following the comment period, board members Judy Richards and Mark Rondinaro expressed an interest in tabling the vote to another meeting within the next 62 days, the time frame in which a decision must be made. Both added they were prepared to vote at that meeting. The motion to postpone the vote was rejected, 4-3. The planning board then approved unanimously the site plan and special use permit.