Top Stories 2015: Oil facility plans hit a red light — for now

12/27/2015 9:00 AM |

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An oil company’s proposal to switch two of the tanks at its Northville location from oil to gasoline storage had a rocky ride in 2015.

Met with almost unanimous opposition from speakers at a public hearing in March, United Riverhead Terminal later withdrew its proposal for the plan.

The proposal was initially presented as a means to avoid the type of gasoline shortages that gripped the East End — not to mention the rest of Long Island — in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

But when some Northville neighbors of the facility caught wind of the plan for the Sound Shore Road facility, the tide started to turn against the project.

Residents came out in force at public hearings in Oct. 2014 and March 2015 to oppose the project, noting that gasoline is much more flammable than heating oil. Opponents also feared the plan would lead to an increase in large tanker trucks traveling down their streets. Town officials also said URT’s traffic plan wasn’t acceptable, since the large tanker trucks would have to pull into oncoming traffic lanes on Sound Avenue.

URT argued that gasoline had been stored at the site under prior owners and that the only reason they even needed town approval was because they planned to build two new tanks to store ethanol to be blended with the gasoline.

Town officials appeared poised to reject the plan, but as it turned out, they didn’t need to.

URT withdrew its application in April 2015. Owner John Catsimatidis said he “didn’t want to fight anybody.”

But seven weeks later, he said he would be exploring legal options to revive the plan to store gasoline at the Northville facility, although he didn’t give specifics. Stay tuned.

PHOTO CREDIT: Barbaraellen Koch

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