Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:33PM - 451 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – The Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board will issue its decision on UGI Energy Services' plan to build a compressor station and associated structure in West Wyoming at its next meeting on Sept. 4, board solicitor Stephen Menn said.

The board heard testimony from UGI representatives and numerous residents who oppose the station for more than five hours Wednesday night. It postponed a decision to give members more time to consider evidence presented.

UGI is seeking to build a compressor station containing three natural-gas-fueled compressors, meters, storage tanks, a radio tower and an odorant building on a 14-acre plot off Fire Cut Road. The land is zoned A1 agricultural district, which means UGI must obtain a special exception to build the station and a variance for the tower.

Gas company representatives assured the board and the public the compressor station would be safe, noting the level of any chemicals that would be released into the atmosphere are far below federal standards. They also noted noise would not be an issue because the station would be located about a half-mile from the nearest homes or roads.

The assurances did little to quell opposition to the plans as numerous residents spoke out against the proposal. Most cited concerns for safety and that it would negatively impact their property values.

Exeter Councilman Lawrence Dellegrotto also questioned whether the station could legally be situated in an A1 zoning district as it appears the station's purpose is more industrial than agricultural.

Dellegrotto said UGI is seeking to classify the compressor as a utility building and yard or an accessory building, which is permitted in an A1 district. He argued the compressor is not an accessory, but a primary building.

"They are processing gas," Dellegrotto said. "That use is not agricultural. Are they planting? Are they storing grain? The use is industrial."

Menn said testimony in the case is now closed, but the board will accept written summaries of the arguments against the compressors until Aug. 27.

What's next

The Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board will issue its ruling on UGI's application at its next meeting on Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse. No new testimony will be taken at the meeting.

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