Esther Bizier of Maine-Land Development talks about the proposed site plan. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL —On May 29 a Planning Board meeting addressed a proposed propane tank site by Everett Propane of West Paris.

The tanks are proposed to go on the 4.24 acre property at 175 Walkers Mills Road In Bethel. Owner Scott Everett plans to install two 30,000 gallon tanks and a 1,000 gallon propane pump station for tank for refilling and filling 20 pound tanks.

The property is located right past Bennett Automotive on the right leaving Bethel.

The applicant plans to have to turn part of the house and garage into office and storage space.

A propane distribution facility will be built at the back of the property.

A road leading to the back of the property will be built almost parallel from the entrance on Sunset Road.

Lights will be on over the tanks during the night and off during the day.

The tanks are more than 250 feet back from Route 26 and will be covered by “evergreen plantings on top of a three foot tall berm,” according to the application.

Discussion

Residents of the Forest Drive subdivision expressed their concerns about the proposed site. The site, if approved, would abut properties on Forest Drive and would be close to homes in the subdivision.

“I am going to have a hard time sleeping in the house knowing that there are tanks 100 feet or so behind my house,” abutter Ewa Zeoli said.

She and her husband Mike Zeoli live on Forest Drive.

“The problem we have is with the location,” Attorney Chris Wright said.

Wright, of Crockett and Wright law firm in Bethel, was representing the Zeolis.

He provided board members a list of safety concerns for them to review.

A motion was made to add the list of safety concerns to the record. The motion did not carry (tied 3-3), with members Dwayne Bennett, Mike Charron and Pat McCartney opposed.

Forest Drive resident Gary Wilson wondered why only the abutters were notified about the propane site and not everyone in the subdivision.

“Each town has the ability to define an abutter in the way that they choose to,” Planning Assistant Sarah Tucker said. “The way the town of Bethel defines it is that anybody who directly touches the property line or is directly across the street is an abutter.”

Charron added that the board does not determine the definition of an abutter, they comply with the definition given.

“It’s not conducive to our neighborhood at all, it’s not going to enhance it in anyway,” Wilson said.

Wilson had expressed concerns in the past about no communication between the board and surrounding residents of the proposed site.

He had additional questions for Everett, regarding how many trips the trucks would be making, if any tanks will be stored on the site and if there would be any smell generated.

Everett said during operations a small amount of odor would be emitted during the connection of the pipe to the truck.

Everett said new tanks will be stored on site in a fenced-in area.

Yasko also asked if the trucks will be idling once they pull into the facility.

“These are diesel trucks. I am concerned about the smell,” Yasko said.

“When the trucks come in to load they are turned off,” Jody Ameden, Owner of Jody Pratt Ameden Energy Consulting LLC, said.

The Bethel Town code in Section 140-1 A. states “Protect property rights and values by balancing the rights of landowners to use their land with the corresponding rights of abutting and neighboring landowners to enjoy their property” and Section 140-1 C states “Integrate new development harmoniously and safely into the existing environment.” Mike Zeoli said he thinks the site plan will violate these codes.

“A diesel tanker idling as it must for one hour according to Everett’s engineers to load the tanks is in itself a violation of those codes,” Zeoli said. “Not to mention that the facility will certainly impact the property values on Forest Drive.”

Forest Drive resident Dean Walker was concerned with his property value also.

“One of our concerns is, when we come to sell this house, what is the value going to be with an industrial propane tank practically next door?” Walker asked. “Also, how is my insurance company going to view this when they renew my policy?”

“We have a lot of information to digest,” Charron said.

A motion was made to table the site application to the next meeting and it was approved unanimously by the board.

The next board meeting is June 26 at 6 p.m. A decision could be made on whether or not a public hearing should be held regarding the site.

The Zeolis made the request for a public hearing.


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