The site of the proposed propane storage facility on Kroemer Avenue, adjacent to an existing propane storage facility on W. Main. Street. Image: Google Earth

The company looking to develop a propane storage and distribution facility on Kroemer Avenue has filed suit against the town.

The suit, filed in State Supreme Court last week, seeks a ruling that the Riverhead Planning Board did not deny the site plan application of 48 Kroemer LLC, when the majority of the board voted against a resolution approving application. The failure to approve the resolution was not a denial, the petition states.

“Kroemer is entitled to judgment declaring that its site plan application remains pending before the planning board,”

The company also seeks a judgment approving the site plan application because the town has not acted on its application within 60 days of the May 6 public hearing, according to the petition.

Should the court determine that the planning board did, in fact, deny the application, the petition asks the court to set aside the denial as ‘arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

A planning board majority voted against the resolution approving the site plan because they said they wanted to first receive comments from the Riverhead Fire Department. The applicant argues that comments from the fire department are not required.

The town board on Sept. 15, 2020 approved a special permit that allows the LP storage and distribution use on the applicant’s site. The resolution approving the special permit states: “Review of the site plan by the Fire Marshal and Fire Department will ensure safety of the LP facility.”

While the town fire marshal has signed off on the application, the Riverhead Fire District Board of Commissioners has not yet commented on the plan. The commissioners have hired a consultant with expertise in LP storage and distribution facilities to assist the board in its review.

Fire commissioners have expressed strong concerns about the proposed LP facility being sited on property adjoining an existing LP facility.

“Between the two facilities, that’s a half-million gallons of LP sitting on the bottom of Kroemer Avenue,” Denis Hammill, chairman of the board of fire commissioners said today. “We are doing our due diligence on the safety aspect of this plan, because an accident has the potential to be catastrophic,” he said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.