ZBA rejects proposed fuel storage

MILFORD – The Zoning Board of Adjustment has rejected plans for a large propane storage tank on Nashua Street across from Shepard Park.

At the board’s Nov. 5 meeting, John Rymes, of Rymes Propane and Oil, said the company would like to tear down the old house on the property and locate the tank in a rear corner to give the company storage it des­perately needs.

The lot, at 425 Nashua St., is zoned limited com­mercial, and installing a fuel storage tank would require a variance.

Neighbors said a large tank like the one proposed doesn’t belong near a resi­dential area, and James Vanetti, of Riverview Street, gave the board a petition from his east Mil­ford neighborhood.

Attorney Tom Quinn, representing Ed Med­lyn, whose Nashua Street house is close to the lot, said a large commercial tank would alter the char­acter of the neighborhood and become a "serious threat to public health and safety."

"Three hundred gallons is a lot of propane" and creates a significant risk of accident, he said, and delivery trucks would add truck traffic to Nashua Street.

"It’s not by accident" that there are a lot of propane tanks in west Milford, he said, because there are far fewer people living there.

"Trying to put it in this site makes as much sense as trying to put it on the Oval," Medlyn said.

Addressing one of the criteria for a variance – that denial would create unnecessary hardship – lawyer Thomas Quinn said there was nothing about the property that rules out permitted uses.

Board member Kevin Johnson told neighbors that the lot is in a limit­ed commercial zone and reminded them that a zoning board is a quasi-judicial body.

"We are not here to do what is right or what is moral," he said. "We are here to do what is legal."

Nevertheless, the board voted unanimous­ly to deny the request for a variance.

The empty house on the lot was the scene of a homicide that is on the state’s Cold Case Unit list. In 2003, Paul Herli­hy, a Massachusetts an­tiques dealer who had recently moved to Mil­ford, was killed there.