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Fight over natural gas truck stop in Andover heating up

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ANDOVER--A local business in Andover is shuttering, but nearby residents aren't happy about what might replace it.

Scott's Tree Farm is selling Lot B, and the proposed buyer is a natural gas truck stop. Some see the injection site as a business opportunity for the town, but others are protesting with signs.

The major concern has nothing to do with gas, though that is a secondary issue. It's about the trucks that would be coming along Route 6, which is commonly referred to as "Suicide 6" because of all the crashes that occur on the 6 1/2-mile stretch off of I-384.

If approved, it's projected that 10 trucks would come and go from the site per hour, leading to significantly increased traffic on the truck route. Trucks would travel 24 hours a day, bringing in gas from Pennsylvania.

According to the Department of Transportation, in a four year period more than 36.5 million vehicles traveled that stretch, causing 221 crashes, three of which were fatal.

First Selectman Robert Burbank supports the $6 million Pentagon Energy Facility because of the more-than $100,000 in property taxes the company would have to pay each year. He says that will only help residents to reduce current property taxes.

"It's a difficult situation to try to keep taxes in check, whether this is the answer or not," Burbank said.

Meanwhile, some are concerned about the hazards and possibility for more explosions.

Barbara Hallisey, who lives near the site, is concerned for an explosion at the actual site if natural gas is added to the pipeline, but also along Route 6 if there is a crash. She also says the tax savings aren't worth the risk.

"This really doesn't benefit us, it benefits people further down the pipeline," Hallisey said.

 

A decision on the proposed purchase will be made by the town's Planning and Zoning Board, but a public comment session will be held on June 20.

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