The proposed expansion of the United Riverhead Terminal fuel storage facility in Northville, which was built prior to the current zoning, was back up for public hearing before the Riverhead Town Board Wednesday, after a three-month delay.
The terminal owners plan to build two new 19,000-gallon tanks to store ethanol to be blended with gasoline and convert two tanks currently used for heating oil to gasoline storage. The terminal had historically stored primarily home heating oil.
United Riverhead Terminal representatives asked for the extension in December after hearing a plethora of concerns from the community about the project in October of 2014. The project needs a Special Permit from the town board.
Riverhead Town gave the project a “negative declaration,” meaning it will not be subject to extensive review under the State Environmental Quality Review act, last year.
The gasoline would arrive at the terminal via tanker on the Long Island Sound, and travel along the terminal’s existing pipelines to the tank farm, where it would be stored until it is distributed via truck to Long Island.
While the project was initially pitched as emergency gasoline storage, New York State is planning to store its emergency gasoline with Northville Industries, which has locations in Port Jefferson, Setauket and Holtsville. Northville Industries has not been the owner of the Northville tank farm for more than two decades.
According to a petition circulated by community members who want to see the project stopped, “URT has since admitted that this expansion will actually be part of their every day, 24/7 business with a MINIMUM of twelve, 18-20 wheel gasoline tankers coming in and out of the terminal per day.”
“It has not been officially determined which routes these massive tankers will be taking, but already URT is sending their larger METRO oil tankers up and down Sound Avenue, using either Twomey or Edwards Avenues to get to its sister facility located at EPCAL as well as to points further west,” they added. “Additional routes being considered include Northville Turnpike and the already congested Route 58.”
Five hundred forty-nine people had signed the petition as of Wednesday afternoon.
Board members seemed poised to reject the proposal after more than three hours of testimony from members of the public opposed to the project Wednesday night.