P&Z Approves Propane Tank Near Airport


The Planning and Zoning Commission approved last week the placement of a 30,000 gallon propane tank adjacent to the Payson Airport.

Northern Energy Propane, which is currently located on West Aero Drive is relocating to Red Baron Road. They are required to apply for a conditional-use permit to place a propane storage tank in the new location which is 900 feet from the end of the airport runway.

Both the town zoning administrator and the fire department supported granting the company a conditional-use permit upon meeting certain conditions.

One of Zoning Administrator Ray Erlandsen's concerns was lightning.

"The height of the metal storage tank could make it susceptible to lightning strikes. The applicant will need to explain what safety provisions would be in place to mitigate the lightning danger," Erlandsen wrote.

A member of the public in attendance, Tony Vlahopoulos, owner of the business next door, had safety concerns about the tank. Vlahopoulos pointed out that when propane tanks explode, they are designed so that they blow out the ends -- one of which points right at his building.

He also commented on Northern Energy's work ethic, stating that the last time he had his liquid propane tank filled at the company's Aero Drive location, their hose leaked.

According to Fire Marshall Jack Babb, Northern Energy Propane does not have a perfect history in safety, but is making efforts to improve its record including all new equipment and new storage tank at the site.

"Their past record has been, in my opinion, about 78 percent to 80 percent," Babb said. "There were some delays in making repairs like the sprinkler system. They could have moved faster to repair the sprinkler system.'

Babb promised a hazard inspection at least once a year and said the owners of the company had no arguments with requests he made including the replacement of their current fire protection equipment.

The commission unanimously approved the conditional-use permit with seven conditions that included meeting building and fire codes and possible additional lighting due to the height of the tank and its proximity to the airport.

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