Residents to fight propane facility Company wants to move storage site near new school

Board to decide June 16

May 29, 1998|By Alexandra Miller | Alexandra Miller,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Howard County Board of Appeals will decide next month on a proposed propane gas storage facility that has drawn fire from Glenelg residents who say the site is too close to a new school.

Amerigas Inc. wants to use a 2.4-acre tract between Route 32 and Triadelphia Road for propane storage and distribution.

The Planning Board turned down the request of Triangle Howard Corp., the petitioner for Amerigas, by a 2-1 vote May 20. The Board of Appeals will make the final decision June 16.

Amerigas hopes to vacate its location at U.S. 40 and Centennial Lane and move to the Route 32 site -- owned by Cloverland Dairy Farms -- which would provide the gas company with more space closer to its customer base in western Howard.

But the proposed site is 1,600 feet from Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School, which is scheduled to open this fall -- a proximity that worries some Glenelg residents.

Angela Butler of Dayton has been collecting signatures on a petition opposing the facility. She says she has 160 signatures and hopes to have more than 200 before the Board of Appeals meeting.

"I thought that for this little piece of property, putting a facility on a site of this kind -- across the street from a new elementary school with the buses and cars going in and out of there five days a week -- seemed like a very dangerous thing to do," Butler said.

Safety concerns focus on two proposed above-ground, propane storage tanks, each to contain 25,500 gallons of liquid propane.

Thomas Meachum, the attorney for Triangle Howard Corp., says the residents have no reason to be concerned.

"Propane is entirely safe," he said. "There has been a propane fuel facility at Amerigas on Route 40 for 40 years. Nothing has ever happened."

Butler disagreed. "Even though they say these tanks are very safe, there is always a chance of these being hit by a car or a truck," she said. "This is an industrial product and should be in an industrial area."

In addition to the tanks, plans for the site call for a 3,000-square-foot warehouse, a 1,600-square-foot office building, a 100-foot-high antenna for communicating with drivers and a 6-foot-high chain-link fence, topped with barbed wire, surrounding the site.

Residents also object to a projected increase in traffic, with 11 or NTC 12 daily delivery runs and every-other-day tanker truck visits to .. the site just as the opening of the school increases the number of vehicles in the area.

According to Glenelg resident Guy Silas, whose property backs up to Ten Oaks Road, across from the site, the roads are "just not equipped to handle that type of industrial traffic."

Pub Date: 5/29/98

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