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Reading wants gas facility out of sight

READING—Besides safety, the biggest concern the Reading planning board had with the site plan approval of a propane and butane transfer station was aesthetics.
The planning board met Thursday, Sept. 17 to go over the application for the Finger Lake Liquid Propane and Gas transfer station in Reading. After two hours of meeting the board had suggested several changes that reduced visibility of plan operations. No decision was made to schedule a public hearing, but Gordon Wright, board chairman, suggested a special meeting Oct. 1. By then the planning board wants digital images of what the facilities would look like, changes to the plan including more trees being planted and shifting the whole site, and maps marked with trees already present that are bigger than eight inches around. The board would then decide to schedule a public hearing at the next regular meeting, Oct. 15.
Barry Ciglich, vice president of Inergy Midstream, said the station would store and transfer butane and propane. He explained propane would be transported by pipeline and truck and butane would go by rail. Ciglich said that when gas is made, butane is also produced. He explained that butane can’t be blended back into gas during the summer so it needs to be stored until the winter.
The first thing the board talked about with the representatives from the project was how best to keep the facilities out of sight. The transfer station will be located where Routes 14 and 14A merge. In addition to the aerial maps provided by the representatives, Wright also brought photos of how the area looks now from various roadside points. The planning board pointed out the areas where they wanted more trees planted.
Jessica Skinner, also with Inergy, said the plans include planting fast growing trees that would reach maturity after about three years. The planning board’s problem with that was the time it would take before the trees were tall enough. Another concern was during the winter when the trees would be without leaves. Inergy agreed to use both the fast growing trees and already mature trees, as well as planting evergreens.
Wright told the board he had already looked into brine ponds, like the one that would be part of the facility. He said if the water escaped and happened to all make it into Seneca Lake, it would not have a huge impact. The planning board also asked about precautions for propane and butane leaks, Mike Armstrong, the third Inergy representative, said the facilities have leak detectors and they try to put the gas into the underground storage units as soon as possible. To prevent explosions, Armstrong said the facility will use as few spark causing equipment as possible.
By the end of the meeting, the planning board suggested the representatives also contact Schuyler County’s Emergency Management Services to review emergency details.

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