A proposal to ship natural gas by truck to a site near a school in Bridgeville got a positive vote from the Sussex Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting last week.
Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities, already runs a facility on property next door to Phillis Wheatley Elementary School on the northwest side of Bridgeville. As it exists now, the facility compresses natural gas to give it the pressure needed to send it via pipeline to other locations.
The company wants permission to also transport renewable natural gas, compressed natural gas, or liquefied natural gas to the site by truck and add it to the pipeline.
The planning and zoning commission had deferred a decision after a public hearing at its last meeting. Groups like Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club of Delaware oppose allowing Eastern Shore Natural Gas to use the property to add natural gas to the pipeline, and raised safety and environmental objections at the hearing.
The review this time was brief, with no comment from commission members other than the reading of a recommendation to approve the project with some conditions, followed by unanimous vote. That doesn’t mean the site is approved just yet – County Council has the final decision.
The location is just to the north of Bridgeville town limits, which means the company doesn't need approval from town commissioners. It will, however, have to get the OK from state and federal agencies.
Eastern Shore Natural Gas did not submit any additional public documents or information after the initial hearing.
Reasons the commission is recommending the approval include that it’s a similar use to what already is going on at the site, there are other conditional uses approved nearby, it’s appropriate for the area, there are no wetlands or other sensitive areas, and it “promotes the convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of residents and businesses of Sussex County.”
The new site will be required to have a locked gate that emergency responders can access, and comply with state and federal rules. The commission will also have to approve the final site plan.
Find the documents the company submitted here.