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Planners delay gas storage issue

The Fredericksburg Planning Commission on Wednesday delayed action on a request to allow conversion of the Quarles Petroleum site into a gasoline storage and distribution facility.

Commissioners won’t act until at least Dec. 11 because they had not received a required comprehensive safety assessment report prior to the meeting from Lincoln Terminal Co., the firm planning to buy the Quarles facility.

The delay also honors a request made by former Mayor Lawrence Davies on behalf of the Mayfield community, which had about eight members at Wednesday’s meeting. Davies said Mayfield residents want to meet with a representative from Lincoln Terminal before the commission acts on the application to amend the special use permit for the site. The next Mayfield community meeting is Nov. 21.

Mark Stephens of Charlotte, N.C., who represented Lincoln Terminal on Wednesday, said someone from the company would attend the Mayfield meeting.

Quarles Petroleum plans to sell its 10.2-acre site along the Rappahannock River behind Dixon Park to Lincoln Energy Solutions, which is based in Greenville, S.C.

The site is on the opposite side of Dixon Street from the Mayfield community.

Lincoln plans to invest $7 million to convert the site at 1500 Beulah Salisbury Drive into one for storage and distribution of gasoline, bio-diesel and ethanol.

Those products would be distributed within 40 miles of the city and should help stabilize retail pricing, according to the company’s application.

The new owners would operate as Lincoln Terminal and would stop the propane operation. The gas, bio-diesel and ethanol would be received via pipeline and truck and distributed via truck.

Lincoln plans to install six additional tanks for its products and to add landscaping to mitigate the industrial look of its site.

Quarles’ operations currently see about 130 vehicle trips per day. Lincoln expects 100 trucks per day but will operate around the clock.

Stephens told the commission the facility won’t increase traffic but the application states it is possible.

In response to questions from commissioners, Stephens said the energy sources would not be mixed until trucks are loaded for distribution. He said ethanol products would then be mixed with 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. Bio-diesel products would be mixed at proportions of about 75 percent gas and 25 percent diesel.

Davies was the one speaker at the public hearing. He said the Mayfield community wants assurances about safeguards for the facility, details on plans for evacuation in case of a problem and details on the impact of traffic from the operation.

Stephens said he felt the liquids to be stored on the site are safer than the gases currently stored there, saying the gases can explode whereas the gasoline would burn and remain contained at its location.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the planning office distributed a safety assessment report to commissioners but Planning Director Chuck Johnston said it was a partial report.

The commission will resume the public hearing on the matter at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972