A proposal to develop a liquid propane storage and distribution facility on Kroemer Avenue in Riverhead received preliminary site plan approval last week from the Riverhead Planning Board, which initially denied the application.
The planning council voted unanimously on a site plan that had been modified by the applicant, 48 Kroemer LLC, as a divided council rejected it on June 3, with the chairman of the planning council Stan Carey, who opposed the plan, citing objections from the Riverhead Fire District, the volume of LPG proposed for storage at the site, which is adjacent to a large existing propane facility and the orientation and location of the tanks storage offered by request. Carey was joined in opposition by members Richard O’Dea and George Nunnaro.
In July, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit challenging the council’s decision. The trial remains pending before the State Supreme Court.
In September, the applicant submitted another set of revised plans, reducing the number of 30,000 gallon storage tanks from eight to six, increasing tank withdrawals to a proposed industrial building and to the on-site rail branch.
Council decided that the revisions addressed the concerns of the Fire District and the Fire Marshal.
“They reduced the size of the project by about 20%,” Carey said in an interview on Friday. The applicant also accepted a condition in the resolution that no gas can be transferred between the new facility and a neighboring property. It was important to Carey and the others who initially opposed the approval, he said.
The board also received a note from the city attorney clarifying its responsibility to the fire district, as the fire marshal approved the plan, while the district fire commissioners opposed it.
“I’m asking for clarification that the city council, in their special permit, said the fire marshal and firefighters would provide security,” said Carey. Firefighters are still opposed to the project, he said. “So I wanted clarity. What did the city council mean by that?
The city council granted a special permit to 48 Kroemer LLC on September 15, 2020. The special permit allows use on the property. The resolution approving the special permit states: “The review of the site plan by the fire marshal and the fire department will ensure the safety of the LP facility. ”
The town’s lawyer informed the town planning council that “legally they have no say in the site plan”. It is returned to them for contribution, he said. “He basically said there was no legal reason to deny it because of the fire department,” Carey said.
Project architect Martin Sendlewski said yesterday that the claimant was happy to have taken the plunge.
“It is unfortunate that we had to reduce the LPG tanks by 25% even though the project originally met all the requirements,” Sendlewski said.
“What is more troubling is that the Riverhead Fire District has no confidence in the level of professionalism and expertise of Fire Marshal Craig Zitek,” he said. “Craig is very thorough and highly skilled.
He said the fire district should have accepted the fire marshal’s analysis rather than spending money on a third-party engineer to do the same job.
“We don’t understand this at all,” Sendlewski said.
The fire district attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
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