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Village considers more gas project questions   ADVERTISEMENT

Village considers more gas project questions

WATKINS GLEN--Two more people urged the Watkins Glen village board to take a position regarding the Crestwood liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage expansion during their Monday, July 7 meeting. In recent months, several residents have come before the board highlighting the dangers of the Reading facility, urging the board to take a position against the project like other nearby towns and counties.
Watkins Glen Mayor Swinnerton said the board has been  discussing the issue, and despite the differences of opinion between board members, they are working toward the best decision for those who live in the village. He said the board may be reaching a decision soon, which may lead to a resolution taking an official board stance.
Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell spoke to the board about the ongoing need for an updated emergency plan in the county. He said while he is not trying to insult the first responders, he would like to see how long people have to evacuate if a train car carrying LPG derails and falls into the glen or if a tanker truck crashes coming down the hill into the village.
The legislator said there may be a low probability for an accident, but said the magnitude of such a problem would have a serious impact on people in the village and county.
“It’s really an issue that is still very important,” Lausell said. “[...] I feel that in particular the hill and the trestle, and here again it’s a low probability, but when the magnitude would be so great, and this is where I thought again about the courthouse, what if it’s a summer day and you have 300 tourists in the glen and you have no escape? “[...] It would be like building a movie theater without any emergency exits. Can we as a community and can the state invite people to the state knowing it is very popular knowing that there is this danger?”
The other speaker was David Hobbs, a vineyard manager for his brother Paul Hobbs who has recently partnered with Johannes Selbach to establish a winery in Burdett. He said once they had purchased the land, they were shocked to find out this project would be taking place so nearby. Hobbs said the storage project sends the wrong message to the global wine market that the Finger Lakes is not serious about becoming “the next up-and-coming star in the wine world.”
“This is the next Napa of the east coast,” Hobbs said. “You have the greater numbers than Napa and Sonoma. You have 60 million people within a five hour drive. This place could be the most beautiful place in all of the east coast when it comes to wine. [...] It sends a bad message to big investors all over the world that you’re not looking to become what is on your threshold, and you’re on the tipping point right now.”
In other business:
The board approved a proposal by Hunt Engineers to draft village zoning ordinance revisions in the amount of $2,500. Swinnerton said if the village tried to do the revisions internally, they would never get done.





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