New developments in proposed North Branford propane storage facility

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– There are new developments in the fight against a propane storage facility proposed for North Branford.

The facility would be on Ciro Road, just south of Foxon Road, on land owned by town council member Donald Fucci. He could make money from the deal, and the town could make revenue.

On Wednesday an attorney for North Branford said the deal with J.J. Sullivan, the company that would own the facility, has nothing to do with money. Yet, laws have gotten changed, and residents are being ignored, all for this company to come in with their massive propane tanks.

Paul Looney, like others in North Branford, is outraged that a propane storage facility appears to be getting slid in by a shady tactics.

“There are a lot of reasons why that would be a very bad thing for us, if there were some type of accident,” said Looney.

“If something goes catastrophically wrong, it can level a quarter mile radius around it,” said attorney Keith Ainsworth.

Ainsworth represents North Branford citizens against the propane facility, which would store two 30,000 gallon tanks. He says prior to the proposed deal with J.J. Sullivan, it would have been illegal to store such large amounts of propane in North Branford. But, he says once the possibility of making money was in it for the town, they made sure the deal would get done.

“They changed the regulation to allow a propane facility without any real safeguards other than the fire code,” said Ainsworth.

The regulation change came in August. The application for the facility came in September, according to Ainsworth, all before residents had a chance to voice their opinions.

John Gesmonde, the attorney representing the town of North Branford, says there is nothing he can do. He says once the Planning and Zoning Commission changed the regulations, the town council is out of it. But with no where else to turn, people are turning to the town council, who say they have no authority to override the Planning and Zoning Commission, even though they voted to appoint them.

We asked Gesmonde if there was any communication or overlap between the two entities, especially when something as important as a propane facility is on the line.

“Usually there is more danger in doing that because people are going to perceive that the town council is trying to influence planning and zoning,” said Gesmonde.

People gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition against the propane facility, but it looks like this might just be a done deal.

There will be a meeting Wednesday at the North Branford Intermediate School at 6:15 p.m. to hear how this propane storage facility could affect the wetlands. People are hoping that the impact could be enough stop the company from coming. Otherwise, the town says the process would move forward, because the company has met all the necessary criteria to have the facility.

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