A V.I. Port Authority rezoning application that would allow for the construction of a two-million gallon fuel facility at Cyril E. King airport drew no opposition from residents gathered at a public hearing Monday night on St. Thomas.
Last year, the Port Authority board approved a request from PG Fuel Inc, also known as Petrus Gas, to build the facility. Monday officials presented an official application to rezone the land needed, which would change at least three parcels at the airport from P (public) to I-1 (heavy industry.)
The fuel storage site will be paid for by PG Fuels, Inc., the family owned business that already operates Petrus Plaza across from the seaplane terminal. At a board meeting last year, VIPA officials said they had recommended three sites for the family to choose from and two were selected, one that would be leased annually for 30 years at $76,839 per year and the second, when it becomes available, for $69,522 per year.
VIPA officials said the company proposed to invest $7 million into constructing the facility, which must be completed within three years after the lease is officially executed. The facility will store various grades of gas and be located near the existing fuel site operated by Total Petroleum.
“Anytime we’re going to do anything to the airport property, we subdivide and create lots for whoever wants them,” VIPA Chief Engineer Dale Gregory explained during Monday night’s hearing. “So this is an effort to offer an opportunity for additional fuel storage facilities. This is on the extreme west end of the airport, where we currently have Total and their fuel storage facility and we have an opportunity to upgrade an area that was formerly the sewage treatment pond as well.”
Gregory said the pond has since been filled with sand from the recent Crown Bay dredging project.
“We feel this would be a great addition to the airport facility and offer us additional fuel capacity at the airport,” he said.
While there no one testified in opposition to the project, one resident asked if the port about height restrictions for the tanks. Because the facility would be near the airport, there are limitations on how high any nearby structure can be, residents said.
Gregory said any rezoning request would have to be approved locally and by the Federal Aviation Administration, which would look closely at any restrictions for the airport. Even power poles have a height requirement and any project that violates those restrictions will not be approved, Gregory said.
The request will be discussed again when it comes up in the Senate for approval, he added.