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Neighbors not too hot on LP facility proposal

Country Comfort Propane is hoping to install a bulk petroleum storage facility near Deer Park in an effort to serve their LP customers.

But homeowners nearby the site on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 46 and County Road H don't think it's such a good idea.

Country Comfort, based in Barron, serves 16 counties in the region. Their Web site indicates they currently have more than 426,000 gallons of storage capacity to serve northwestern Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota.

The company is trying to purchase a 5.5-acre parcel of land on which to place the new facility.

They have applied for a special exception from the St. Croix County Planning and Zoning Department to allow for the construction of a new driveway on County Road H to provide access to the site.

Officials with Country Comfort indicate they intend to abandon a driveway access off Highway 46 if their new driveway is approved.

The issue first went to the Town of Cylon Plan Commission Aug. 25 for consideration. After a public hearing, the committee voted to not recommend approval of the special exception on a 0-3-2 vote.

"The local residents were not too impressed with having a tank farm so near," said Jim Thompson, a Plan Commission member who abstained from voting because he lives nearby.

While the property in question is zoned commercial, Thompson said the facility doesn't seem compatible for the neighborhood. About seven residential properties are close by, he estimated.

The issue now goes before the Cylon Town Board at its Wednesday, Sept. 9, meeting at 7 p.m.

Depending on what happens then, the measure could be forwarded to the county for consideration -- with or without a recommendation, Thompson said.

According to Lettie Brickel, whose home is near the proposed site, it make no sense for the LP facility to be installed on this land. She said land by Four Corners would make more sense, as there is other commercial businesses nearby.

"We're really worried about this," she said. "We saved a long time to buy our house. We're in the country, and who wants to be looking at a bunch of tanks outside their kitchen window."

She said she's also concerned about the safety of having so much explosive materials stored close by.

According to the county application, Country Comfort claims that the facility would be far enough away from homes to maintain necessary safety requirements.

"Country Comfort will construct a facility that (has) absolutely the least impact on neighboring properties," the application states.

They claim that there would be minimal noise problems, and estimated that there would be only a few trucks coming and going each day.

"Truck traffic will be no more invasive than the neighbors experienced with the farming practices currently occupying this property," the application states.

Brickel said she encouraged other area residents to voice their opinions on the matter prior to the upcoming meetings.

Country Comfort officials could not be reached for a comment prior to presstime.