Once again approximately 100 seats were filled with concerned Guilford residents at the April 9 Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) meeting. Most were hoping to hear a decision from the commission, in regard to the proposed application for a propane bulk storage facility on property located at 2772 Boston Post Road.
Residents were not given the opportunity to speak at this meeting as the public hearing was closed at the previous meeting. The April 9 meeting still stretched over two hours and was adjourned with no decision made on the proposed application.
The proposal calls for office buildings, driveways, parking area, storm water infiltration, septic system upgrades, and demolition of an existing residence on the property in addition to the storage of 60,000 gallons of bulk propane.
According to Guilford Natural Resources Department Environmental Planner and Inland Wetlands Administrator Kevin Magee, currently the Inland Wetlands Commission is in the deliberating phase.
The interveners contend that the application should be denied without prejudice because the applicant has failed to submit adequate findings on a laundry list of issues.
The applicant's attorney, Jeffrey Beatty, said at the April 9 meeting that the commission's decision on the application is one that has to be made based on scientific evidence in regard to wetlands, and the interveners did not provide enough technical experts to dispute the applicants testimony.
"We have presented evidence to be considered by the IWC to support positive proposed activities that will not have an adverse effect on the wetlands," said Beatty. "Historically my client has adapted to the changing fuel needs of their customers and that is what they are trying to do now. First it was kerosene, then coal, then oil and now more and more customers are changing to propane, and the business is trying to adapt and serve its customers."
Beatty added, "The applicant has been operating in town for over 80 years. It is a fourth generation, family run business with strong ties in the community and it is important to my client to remain good neighbors."
According to Magee, it is most likely that the commission will make a decision on the application at the next IWC meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center.
If the decision is made by the commission to approve the application, the applicant must then submit an application to the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) for special permit approvals. However, according to Magee, the interveners could appeal the Inland Wetlands Commission decision in the Connecticut Superior Court-and vice-versa, if the commission denies approval, the applicant can appeal.
Since the PZC approved an amendment to the zoning code that now allows bulk storage and retail sale of propane by special permit west of West Lake Avenue and south of U.S. Route 1 in the C-D zone, Guilford residents against this application have voiced their concerns often and openly sighting the possible impact on wetlands, spot zoning, property values, and most important, safety issues.