(c)Ash for Trash
By Rhea Jezer (resident of Preble & member of Iroquois Group Excom)
The Town of Preble, with a population of 1,582, has always been famous for its rich soil, dairy farming, and picturesque countryside. Over the past several decades, there have been attempts to compromise the town's character by introducing commercial and industrial uses not consistent with the town's goals and comprehensive plan that stresses preserving the its rural character with limited loss of prime farm land. This past year a committee recommended that the zoning code should prohibit industrial gas drilling and associated industries, such as storage, refinement, etc.
Without consulting anyone from the town, the Director of the Cortland County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) ap- plied for and was awarded a grant from the state for $205,000, to put in a Railroad spur across R. 11. The assumption was that a 20 acre parcel of prime farmland would be rezoned and a propane "farm", with 20 to 30 above-ground 30,000 gallon propane tanks storing 720,000 gallons of propane, would be built on the land. The operation of such a terminal would gener- ate an estimated 20 trucks a day carrying propane. The director then convinced a developer to put an offer on the land, which has always been agricultural, assuming it would be re-zoned industrial. The property is surrounded by working farms. This move clearly goes against the town's comprehensive plans which "encourage preservation and enhancement of the existing rural nature of the Town," and is opposed to "spot zoning".
The residents of the Town of Preble packed a public hearing to protest the planned facility. The Preble Town Board in De- cember voted to impose a one year moratorium on the project. Although the Cortland County IDA and developer will try to work on rezoning the property, the residents of the Town of Preble will fight not to have the county "railroad" the town and will fight this blatantly anti environmental and irreversible usage of prime farmland.