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SK Design Group's Matthew Puntin explains where two 30,000-gallon liquid propane tanks will be located at Lipton Energy.

Community Development Board Approves Lipton Energy Permit For Propane Storage Tanks

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board approved a special permit for Lipton Energy to place two new above-ground fuel storage tanks within the 10-year flood plain at 36 Industrial Drive with four conditions.

These conditions include all lighting on the site to be downward cast and not trespass onto abutting properties and for Lipton Energy to provide screening in the form of a fence or vegetation so that abutters can't see the tanks.

The fuel tanks will hold 30,000 gallons of propane each, equal to 60,000 gallons total. This acts as a location where a large truck can deliver fuel to these storage tanks and, in turn, transfer them into smaller trucks that deliver fuel to people's houses.

Several abutters called into the meeting to voice their concerns over the fuel tanks. Common areas of concern were improper notification, fumes, spills, surrounding wildlife, and disruptive lights from delivery trucks.

"Harding street is a nice quiet area," said abutter Kathyann Voltoline. "It's a lovely part of the city, and I would hate to see it become just this tough place to live."

Senior engineer of SK Design Group Matthew Puntin represented Lipton Energy. He explained to concerned abutters that the fuel stored in these tanks is propane and does not run the risks of spilling that oil does.

"This is not oil, this is liquid propane," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, it's a liquid in a tank, if a tank were to leak -- and that's a big if, it just turns into a gas and goes into the air."

Puntin added that he can't give the board a 100 percent guarantee that abutters won't see the tanks from their properties, as the tanks will rise 14 feet from the ground. Nonetheless, Lipton Energy was willing to accommodate concerns that are addressed in the board's conditions for approval.

Lipton Energy's plan went to Conservation Commission in November, Puntin said, and received an order of conditions before being approved.

Also in this meeting, the Community Development Board approved a special permit for Hospitality Syracuse, Inc., which is building a new Taco Bell restaurant to be located at the intersection of Dalton and Hubbard avenues. This permit is to construct a second drive-through order board on Taco Bell's premises to accommodate a larger volume of drive-through customers during the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

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Methuselah Loses License for Two Days

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A bar and restaurant owned by a city councilor had its license suspended for two days for violating state COVID-19 guidelines.

On Monday, the Licensing Board voted to suspend Councilor at Large Yuki Cohen's liquor license for Methuselah Bar and Lounge, scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, after a hearing for three alleged pandemic violation complaints that included pictures and anonymous testimony.

Because of the anonymous nature of the evidence submitted, the board weighed in on the fact that this is not Cohen's first time in front of the Licensing Board, as Methuselah faced a five-day liquor license suspension in 2018.

"I feel like in light of what the history is, I don't think we can just pretend that there's no history,"  Chairman Thomas Campoli said, concluding with the other board members that this case had to be handled differently than if it was a first violation.

On Jan. 15, the board held a hearing for two of the violations occurring on Aug. 22 and Dec. 11. It was decided to continue the hearing for the third violation and voting until Monday, Jan. 25.

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