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Company to seek zoning OK to do more at National Refractories location

September 22, 2012
By LARRY SHIELDS , Salem News

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP - To help streamline development, Centennial Energy, the company proposing a gas and oil transfer point in the old National Refractories site, said it will assemble an expanded conditional use application for all the potential uses.

The company will have to return to township zoning appeals board after edging outside the a conditional use granted in June.

That conditional use was granted for the transfer of crude oil and condensate from active wells that arrives at the 95-acres site by truck and will be pumped into rail tankers staged on a spur.

Plans called for the station to handle 16-18 trucks per day by filling five railroad tankers, with trucks entering and leaving on Esterly Drive after moving through a trans-loading area.

The railcars will remain on the spur until they are picked up by the next available train, when more empty rail tankers will arrive.

In June, when the conditional use was granted, Lisa Wallace, general counsel for Centennial Energy, hinted at further development "and other companies" that might want to take advantage of the opportunities near the property.

That was the case at Thursday's meeting when Wallace said they were expanding the rail outlay, (laying track) to handle more business, a preliminary step.

She appeared just as activity was observed on the site which, according to Zoning Officer Kymberly Seabolt, reached outside the original scope of the conditional use.

They were moving along "a completely different track," Seabolt said noting there was no pun intended.

Wallace explained that Centennial will set up for a condensate transfer station but that aspect did not address the company's primary market.

She added they were "actually quite a way from using the transfer facility" and explained that while that is what the conditional use was approved for they were "developing this to attract more business" as she had hinted at in June.

The track being laid was for additional space to place cars, for "this extra capacity" like warehousing fracking sand and even silos.

"We didn't realize putting in additional track was another conditional use," Wallace said, noting they would return to the appeals board with "an overall plan for the site."

Wallace asked if they can return to obtain site approval for everything?

Seabolt said they can't be too vague and have to remain within a two-year window.

"We'd like to put together an application with all the potential work we'd like to see come in," Wallace said, "because this is a quick market ... a great opportunity for taxes ... the quicker we put something together and put it in front of the board" the better.

Trustee Barry Miner said with the I-1 zoning "whatever they're doing isn't conducive to I-1" but Seabolt said "it does, but they're expanding it so much ... technically they have done nothing wrong, they haven't violated anything."

Miner said he would look at the frack sand, oil, gas and brine as "an expansion: while noting he agreed about the gas and oil but didn't know about the sand.

Attorney Mark Hutson pointed out that what was out there when Kaiser (Refractories before it became National Refractories) was operating was I-1.

Wallace asked, "Is there a way to put it all together? A lot fits under conditional use ... but the way the zoning reads you have to come back each time."

She asked if all the uses could be "bundled" and Seabolt suggested to the highest and best use ... to bundle it.

"That's our goal," Wallace said.

She said the direct employment impact will be in the area of 250 people depending on drilling activity.

Larry Shields can be reached at lshields@salemnews.net

 
 

 

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