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Angry reaction among residents as XNG secures special use permit

By ANNA MEILER

DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Reaction among residents became heated after the zoning board of appeals gave Xpress Natural Gas the green light to build a natural gas compressing station in the town of Manheim.

It wasn't the answer Jessica Wilkes wanted to hear.

"They basically just signed my death warrant and they're okay with it," said Wilkes, who lives across from the proposed project site on Route 167.

As part of the process, the planning board approved an environmental review. But, some residents aren't convinced.

"We've had many accidents in Pittsburgh, lots of explosions, there's a lot of toxic gases being released. People are getting sick," said Manheim resident, Kim Hergert.

"There's no question that this board, especially the planning board during the environmental review took a sufficiently hard look. They conducted numerous meetings, they conducted extra special hearings that weren't required and looked very seriously at all of the public comments," said Kenneth Ayers, the attorney for the Town of Manheim.

Rosa Lavalley is on the other side of the argument. She took a bus trip to Maine to see one of XNG's natural gas compressing sites firsthand.

"It was nothing. It was just pipe into the truck and that was it. There was hardly any noise, there was some, but not very loud," she said.

The chairman of the zoning board for the Town of Manheim and Mayor of Dolgeville, Bruce Lyon, says he voted yes because it will have a positive economic impact.

"It's about an 8 million dollar building and the assessment will mean that the assessment in the Town of Manheim will go up. So that means we'll get more sales tax and the Town of Manheim will get more taxes out of that," said Lyon.

XNG declined to comment regarding the decision. Moving forward, the Boston-based company will need a subdivision approval and a building permit. If they can secure both they hope to break ground within a year.

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