Ballard’s Oil installing new above-ground tank

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 10:00am

Ballard’s Oil Company has been granted unanimous approval (5-0) for a special use permit by the New Shoreham Zoning Board of Review to construct an above-ground oil storage tank on land abutting the Block Island Power Company. Chair Elizabeth Connor, and board member Andy Transue, were recused from the Aug. 22 meeting.

The oil company is operated by Millie McGinnes. Ballard’s Oil used to lease a below-ground oil tank from BIPCo for storage, but those BIPCo tanks were removed at the end of 2017. The new 18,000 gallon capacity steel tank will be situated on land owned by the Marjorie McGinnes Estate, near a five-car garage.

“The proposal is to put a safe, environmentally responsible tank in that location,” said Attorney Erik Wallin during the discussion at the meeting. Wallin interviewed Civil Engineer Mark Smith, who referenced design plans, and noted that the steel tank is double-walled, and protected by a perimeter of cement-filled steel columns known as bollards. 

Smith said Ballard’s Oil Company and the tank would be in full compliance with state and federal regulations, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s Federal Spill Prevention Plan, which in the case of an emergency, or oil spill, includes spill prevention, control and countermeasures, and a facility response plan. He also said the tank will be installed on a concrete pad that will have a lip to prevent spillage that could occur during the process of loading and unloading.

Wallin said that every fuel company has to be in compliance with the EPA’s spill prevention practices. “In terms of impact on the general neighborhood; do you see any?” asked Wallin.

“No,” said Smith. “It’s in a commercial area. It’s in relative keeping with the land there. It is not part of the traffic pattern on the property.” Smith said the newly installed tank will be “hidden from view, down behind a hill.”

After a brief discussion, with board members seemingly in favor of the project, board member Susan Bush made the motion to approve the application, seconded by Judith Cyronak. The approval comes with the stipulation that bollards are included with the project; meaning that they are installed as a protective measure.

In her findings of fact, Bush noted that the “proposed (tank) structure was appropriate for the site; a permanent tank; visually hidden; won’t cause a nuisance or hazard; not near wetlands; provides assurances against spillage; and subject to federal regulations.”

“Thank you very much,” said Millie McGinnes, following the granting of approval for the project.

McGinnes told The Times that she is “waiting on the final plans from the engineer showing the approval conditions of the Zoning Board. Once those plans are received I will apply for a building permit and begin the site work needed, and once that’s completed, we will place the tank.” 

OVF affordable housing

In other news, the board unanimously approved (6-0) the Ocean View Foundation’s application for a special use permit under section 405 to create separate lots for affordable housing. The OVF gifted the Block Island Housing Board with two single-family dwellings off of West Side Road, which are being offered for purchase by their tenants. 

With Cyronak recused, Chair Elizabeth Connor made the motion to approve that was seconded by Bush. In her findings of fact, Connor noted that the affordable housing project was consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.