In 1962, the town of Wappinger adopted its zoning ordinance which authorizes and regulates the uses of property within its borders to meet the goals of the town’s Master Plan. In the 60 years of the town zoning ordinance, the Town has never developed a zone that would allow a fuel or propane storage facility like the one proposed by Downey Oil, a propane company located in Putnam County. The petitioner seeks that the Wappinger Town Board change its zoning laws to permit the use, as a right, in specific commercial zones.
The application made by Downey Oil would allow the development of a 90,000-gallon storage facility on Route 9, on the current site of N&S Plumbing Supply. The changes in the zoning will enable the use of the town’s (HB) Highway Business zone, and (AI) Airport Industry zone. It has been reported that this project was supported by Thurston Administration which voted to introduce regulations in 2019 to make amendments to the law and permit its use.
Both East Fishkill in Dutchess County and the town of Philipstown in Putnam County dismissed to permit the development of this project or amend the laws, taking into consideration the danger that the development of this project will bring.
It has been said by Bruce Flower, the chairman of the Planning Board, who is also a veteran firefighter for the Hughsonville Fire Department, that all three towns of Wappinger voluntary fire districts do not have any capacity, equipment, or specialized training to adequately control any fire or emergency at the proposed propane station. The Town Board has required the Planning Board to examine the application as part of the evaluation of amending the law.
If this decision is taken to allow the development of this kind of Facility in the Town of Wappinger will also need changes in the Emergency resource plan of the Town of Wappinger. In turn, this will call for a one-mile evacuation radius around this facility. In the densely populated Wappinger, with over 27,000 residents, a one-mile radius would encompass thousands of town residents and homes.
Last December, former Town Supervisor Joseph Ruggiero addressed the Planning Board urging them to return this application to the town board as the proposed project does not comply with current zoning law, and it was premature for the Planning Board to render its approval. It is expected that the applicant will resubmit the application to the Thurston Administration during this new term.