Sussex P&Z approves natural gas facility next to elementary school

Charlie Megginson Government, Headlines

a sign on the side of a road

Pending final site plan approval, a natural gas offloading station will be built right next to Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Bridgeville. Photo/Google Maps.

Sussex County’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday approved a Bridgeville project that will result in a natural gas offloading station being built 1,300 feet away from an elementary school. 

The project will result in at least 18 gas trucks visiting the site each day. 

The commission deferred action on Eastern Shore Natural Gas’ conditional use request during a Feb. 10 meeting after numerous members of the public objected to the proposal. 

But on Thursday, they seemed to want to make up for the lost time. Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson quickly detailed the request, moved to approve it, and the commission passed it unanimously.

That comes as a major concern to opponents who say the project invites the risk of explosions in close proximity to Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, which has about 600 students.

“The decision to unanimously approve a dangerous gas pipeline expansion next door to a school and residential community is unconscionable,” said Food & Water Watch Delaware Organizer Greg Layton.

“Not only will this project put Sussex County residents at risk, but it will also deepen our reliance on the dirty fossil fuels locking us into climate disaster.”

Ultimately, the commission decided the risk was not sufficient to deny the request.

The proposed offloading station will be located at 17035 Black Cherry Drive in Bridgeville. 

RELATED: Bridgeville natural gas facility would put kids at risk, opponents say

The final site plan will be subject to review and approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Luckily, this project isn’t a done deal,” Layton said. “We look forward to a public debate on this pipeline proposal before the Sussex County Council, where our elected representatives will have the clear choice to side with their constituents over dirty energy interests.”

To read Eastern Shore Natural Gas’ filing with the commission, click here.

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