Preble Residents Upset Over Propane Storage Project, Say Town Should Have Known About Project Sooner
It was standing room only at the Preble Town Board meeting last night, several residents turned out to voice opposition to a plan to construct propane storage and distribution facility in the town.
Several attendees at last night’s meeting expressed support for a moratorium or temporary ban in connection with the project.
Community members questioned the impacts such a facility could have on the town and its rural character.
Some of the speakers at the meeting raised concerns about increased truck traffic that would come with the project as well as safety concerns associated with storage of volatile propane gas.
Other community members questioned why the project developer is purchasing prime farmland in the town and considering an industrial use for the 21 acre site when it is zoned agricultural, which is supported by the Town’s Comprehensive Plan that guides development.
Project Developer and company co-owner Darren Fuller who currently works for Parrish New York based Ascent Aviation, says there is a need for this type of facility in the region.
Fuller says the New York propane market is suffering from high demand and low supply; he feels the area would make a prime distribution point for both retail and wholesale propane sales.
Fuller said the proximity of a rail line to the Preble site was a factor to purchase the property at the end of Song Lake Crossing Road.
If the project is approved, the propane would be shipped in rail cars, stored at the site, and then pumped into trucks for distribution. Fuller said he expected up to 12 trucks a day in and out of the site, that traffic would utilize Route 11. If it moves ahead Fuller expected his facility would create 10 jobs.
Fuller says his plan calls for the storage of 500 thousand to 700 thousand gallons of propane, beyond that he has not developed a site plan because of the uncertainty of whether the project would proceed much further.
Fuller says he would work with the town to make the project work for the community, if given the opportunity to do so.
Several attendees at the meeting questioned why the Cortland County Industrial Agency is promoting this project including applying for grant for the extension of a rail siding to accommodate the development, despite its inconsistency with established land use plans.
County I-D-A Director Gary VanGorder says his agency is tasked with bringing jobs and capital investment to the community, it’s not the I-D-A’s place to weigh the merits and drawbacks of potential projects, VanGorder says that responsibility falls to local town boards, planning boards, zoning review boards.
The Preble Town Board is expected to adopt a one year ban on large gas storage facilities at its December meeting. During the moratorium period the Town is expected to draft rules and regulations for such facilities.
Fuller says his company is a safe viable business and feels it could become an asset to the Preble Community.
The Town Board has asked the County Planning Board to comment on its proposed moratorium,
Fuller said he doesn’t expect to develop a site plan for the project until the board finalizes those rules. Fuller acknowledged the project may never move forward in Preble.