By Staff Writer
Update: The City of Cleveland Zoning Commission unanimously vote to not approve the the 12,0000 gallon above ground fuel tank variance for the George Family Enterprise, LLC. Notable opposition to the appeal was MidTown Cleveland, The Cleveland Foundation and several resident near and around the facilities. Residents sent in emails and showed up at city hall to express their concerns.
George Family Enterprises, LLC, proposes to install a 12,000-gallon above-ground gas storage tank and equipment in the Midtown Mixed Use District 2 (MMUD-2) on 71st at the corner of Chester Ave. But why at this location, and why above-ground?
Gasoline storage tanks in a common gas station are normally underground, protected by dirt and cement, and have an assortment of safety requirements and regulations. Above-ground storage tanks are only permitted in industrial and semi-industrial districts according to the city of Cleveland’s codified ordinances, section 334.03(b). An above-ground storage tank has very stringent safety requirements. Accidents are rarely heard of, but they happen more frequently than might be expected. Any sharp metal projectile can penetrate the tank and cause an explosion.
The installation of an above-ground gas or oil storage tank could be fatal to residents, and yet only a few residents were even notified by email of a meeting, which was held on the facility grounds at 7001 Euclid Avenue on August 31. All residents in the community should have been notified of the meeting, or at the very least the residents living within two city blocks should have been notified.
Residents who were in attendance expressed their opposition to an above-ground variance from the city code to allow the tank to be installed. One community member asked about a suppression plan in case of an accident or explosion, but was not satisfied with the answers related to such suppression.
What has changed to support a variance? Technology? If so, is there data to support approving the appeal for a variance? Where are other above-ground storage tanks located in residential areas in Northeast Ohio with a variance? Are certain communities (like Midtown) no longer considered residential? Was the neglect to invite all residents to the August 31st meeting a lack of preparation or a lack of consideration? Are business needs (convenience and profit) more important than the safety of the community?
This code was created for a reason and should be adhered to. Many questions, not enough answers.