Mark Powell leads Aug. 1st SEAF meeting where main topic was propane terminal.
The disgruntled rumbling from Southeast area residents was turning into a lions roar as word spread and opposition grew against the propane/butane gas terminal proposed by Inergy and located on vacant land off Progress Street in the 9th Street Industrial Park.
As nonsupport from city council and the planning commission trickled out to Inergy representatives and Roanoke Valley IDICO headed by President James Turner (Construction) and Vice President Dan Motley (Chairman. Industrial Development Manager, Norfolk Southern Corporation) they thought better of it and retreated from the politically charged battle.
A simple hand-delivered letter by their attorney Dan Layman stated “Inergy Services LLC withdraws its application to rezone.”
The plan was to offloaded propane and butane from adjacent rail tank cars to onsite tanks. Three tanks will hold 60,000 gallons of propane and two will hold 90,000 gallon tanks of butane with generally ten 30,000 gallons capacity rail cars onsite at any one time. Two trucks an hour would fill up at the site carrying propane to customers.
At a Southeast Action Forum meeting on August 1, President Mark Powell said after meeting with city manager, Chris Morrill that the terminal held no particular economic value for the city. A video projection of exploding propane terminal sites lead to an online petition quickly pushing to 500 signatures in short order.
The Planning Commission was not scheduled to vote on the terminal until September 10 but they did walk the property at a July work session.
The property needed to be rezoned from light industrial to heavy industrial plus it would have had to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals for a special use permit. Planner Katherine Gray listed the permissible uses for heavy industrial that included things like utility generation, a railroad freight yard, fuel oil distribution and a steel mill.
Southeast resident Laura Padgett said, “we don’t want the parcel rezoned to heavy industrial period.”
Ronnie Campbell, Roanoke Deputy Fire Marshal in an email named off a list of conditions he would be looking for to pass the safety muster: tank sizes, total amount of product, distance to property lines, distance to roads, distance to buildings, water supply for fire hydrants, security fencing, any type of fire protection and grounding and bonding.
Director of planning, Chris Chittum admitted that they didn’t know much about propane terminals. “We’re not familiar with this type of project,” he said.
Several members had met with Inergy Vice President of Eastern Supply and Marketing, James A. Ronald and though they proposal locating the terminal closer to 13th Street it didn’t change their opposition.
The residents are still on alert to see if Inergy and IDICO are hatching other plans. Mark Powell is still skeptical and plans to keep a watchful eye on future use of the property.