Manheim Mayhem: Zoning Board Approves Permit for Natural Gas Filling Station

By Julia Rose

Published 07/22 2014 10:22PM

Updated 07/22 2014 10:24PM

The controversy over a proposed natural gas filling station in the Town of Manheim continues as the project appears to be moving forward. The Zoning Board of Appeals voted Tuesday night to approve a special use permit for the company Xpress Natural Gas.

It was a tense and emotional scene in Dolgeville after the board granted the company the special permit. The board says they found no environmental risks associated with the proposed plant but community members say they're not buying it.

"They basically just signed my death warrant and they're ok with it and so that doesn't sit well with me, it's shocking that they have no concern for human life especially me living 75 feet across the street,” says Jessica Wilkes of Manheim.

"The main residents of the Town of Manheim are solely opposed to this item that they want to produce here,” said Larry Sekel of Manheim.

Despite a large group of protestors the board approved the permit after reading a resolution stating the filling station would have no environmental impacts.

"There's no question that this board, especially the planning board during the environmental review, took a sufficiently hard look, they conducted numerous meetings, they conducted extra special hearing that weren't required and looked very seriously at all of the public comments,” said Kenneth L. Ayers, an attorney for the Town of Manheim.

"I took the bus ride to Maine to see the plant that they have there and it's just as safe as can be,” said Mayor of Dolgeville Bruce Lyon.

The board also says contrary to public concern the station has no connection with hydrofracking.

"It’s absolutely false and they know it's false, period, it has nothing to do with fracking,” says Ayers.

Some say they've seen first-hand how destructive and dangerous this type of infrastructure can be.

"After some time, there's definitely problems that occur and I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Pennsylvania I watched it devastate my home town, my home state, my home area and I really, really don’t' want to see it happen here,” says Kim Hergert who moved to Manheim from Pennsylvania.

Other concerns include trucking accidents since about 45 trucks will fill up and deliver gas every day as well as a decrease in property value.

Xpress Natural Gas still needs certain building permits and to hire contractors but if all goes well for the company, construction on the filling station is said to begin within the year.

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