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03/29/2023 08:00 AM

Our Concerns

We are writing to voice our concerns about Application 23-06 by Robinson Aviation requesting a variance to Section 44.7 of the East Haven Zoning Regulations to add a 20,000-gallon jet fuel tank to the existing fuel farm at Robinson Aviation. The storage of jet fuel in an already nonconforming site in a residential neighborhood is a hazard. Ours is an environmental justice town that should not be exposed to an increased risk of a catastrophic accident, air and water pollution, and fuel tanker trucks on our streets. There have been devastating fires at fuel farms due to mechanical failures, human error, even lightning strikes. To extinguish these fires requires large amounts of highly toxic chemical foams.

Since the arrival of Avelo at Tweed, there have been jet fuel trucks driving up and down our street, Thompson Avenue. Not only are they loud and give off exhaust, the prospect of an accident involving one of these is horrifying. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and children heading to Tuttle Elementary School cross Thompson every day. How many feet does it take for a tanker carrying between 5,000 and 10,000 gallons to come to a stop if someone is in the crosswalk or a car runs the stop sign? Is this kind of accident one of the extra accidents caused by the airport expansion that are “OK” in the Environmental Assessment?

There are legal questions that need to be addressed. It is my understanding that Robinson Aviation does not own this land. Are there regulations that refer to the storage of fuel near residential neighborhoods and wetlands?

We sincerely hope that this variance will be denied by the East Haven Zoning Board of Appeals at their next meeting on April 20.

Katherine Bennett

Roger Hankins

East Haven