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AFS Gains Approval For Propane Storage

In response to complaints from a couple who lives nearby, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has placed a set of conditions on its approval for an industrial firm to install a 30,000-gallon propane storage tank and a chiller unit near its factory.

In action following a February 21 public hearing, P&Z members approved an application from Advanced Fusion Systems LLC (AFS) to install the equipment near its Edmond Road industrial building.

The P&Z is requiring that evergreen trees, and plants and bushes be planted to block the view of the AFS facility as seen from the residential property at 46 The Boulevard. The plantings also must obscure the view of AFS’s chain-link fencing in that area, according to the P&Z.

Also, soundproofing materials, as needed, must be affixed that the fencing.

Additionally, any new construction contracts for the AFS site must provide for trucks that use back-up cameras instead of back-up beeper alarms to lessen construction-related noise, according to the P&Z.

AFS is in the midst of a large-scale industrial redevelopment project at 11 Edmond Road, near the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84.

In July 2010, the P&Z approved the AFS industrial project for a 24-acre industrial site in a M-1 (Industrial) zone. That P&Z approval was one of many approvals that AFS has needed for its project.

On February 7, the P&Z approved revised zoning regulations that allow propane storage tanks as large as 30,000 gallons at industrial site. The previous propane rules had allowed a maximum tank size about 15 percent smaller.

At the February 21 public hearing, Joellen and Richard Lawson of 46 The Boulevard provided detailed testimony to the P&Z, listing various complaints they have regarding recent construction activity at the AFS site.

The Lawson property, which sits on a rise, overlooks the AFS site. The Lawson property is on the east side of The Boulevard, just southeast of The Boulevard’s intersection with Hall Lane.

Ms Lawson said that she and her husband have experienced noise pollution due to recent construction involving the installation of the propane storage tank and accompanying chiller unit. The situation adversely affects their quality of life and threatens their property’s value, Ms Lawson said.

Ms Lawson noted that she has health issues which limit her physical activity.

Mr Lawson said that he and his wife did not oppose AFS’s industrial redevelopment application when it was considered by the town in 2010.

Ms Lawson stressed that the noise emanating from the back-up alarm beepers on construction trucks at the AFS site has been “excessive.” The back-up alarms are “very distracting,” Mr Lawson said, adding that the AFS factory amounts to an “eyesore” during the times when foliage is off the trees.

Ms Lawson said that she and her husband need the P&Z help in order to remedy the problems posed by the presence of AFS. She said that she and her husband had not expected that the AFS project would adversely affect them.

William Joyce, who heads AFS, told P&Z members that the construction work that has been affecting the Lawsons would be completed soon.

Mr Joyce told P&Z members that the firm is installing the large propane tank because it will be using industrial equipment that is powered by compressed gas. The propane tank would need to be refilled for the firm “every couple days,” he said.

The firm had expected to be served by a conventional natural gas line, but plans for such service have hit a stumbling block, he noted.

Initial plans for propane tank storage at the AFS site had specified an 18,000-gallon tank.

Since 2010, AFS has been improving its large industrial building for use a manufacturing plant and a research/development facility. The building formerly was occupied by Pitney-Bowes, Inc.

In the expanded industrial plant, AFS would manufacture high-speed electrical switching devices for very high electrical voltages.

AFS products would be used to protect the nation’s electrical power supply grid in the event of disruptive solar storms or terrorist attacks, with some of the firm’s work possibly performed for the US Department of Defense.

The firm also would develop various other technology-intensive industrial equipment.

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