South Ferry seeks permit for fuel tank

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Cliff Clark, left, and Nick Morehead of South Ferry Company at a Town Board session in April, 2012.

The South Ferry Company has asked the Town Board for a permit to build a 10,000-gallon double-walled above-ground tank at its maintenance facility at 125 South Ferry Road.

The site is in a residential area that also has been designated a “ferry zone,” where any construction by the ferry company requires a review by the Town Board, which must issue a “special permit” for the work.

The company has been operating without a fuel storage facility since December, 2009, when its in-ground, single-walled fiberglass tank at the site was removed because Suffolk County in 2009 had banned all single-walled in-ground fuel storage tanks and ordered them removed. The company has been fueling its ferries with individual truck deliveries to each boat twice a week since January, 2010, limiting the volume of fuel the company can buy and have on hand.

The current procedure is unacceptable, Company President Cliff Clark told the Town Board in his permit application, because it provides only enough fuel for a few days of operation — a serious problem at times when fuel deliveries can be interrupted by weather or other problems. It also prevents the company from buying in bulk, which adds about 43 cents a gallon to the approximately 85,000 gallons of fuel the company burns each year.

“Both problems will be resolved” by installing the 10,000-gallon above-ground tank, Mr. Clark wrote in his application. It will be shielded from neighbors on the south, west and north side by mature evergreens to be planted on the half-acre parcel; the tank will be hidden from the view of boaters in Smith Cove by existing shrubbery.

The Town Board has the application on its agenda for review at its work session on Tuesday, November 27 and it’s expected to convene a special meeting in order to vote on setting a public hearing on the application for Tuesday, December 11.

Mr. Clark has told the board he hopes construction can begin in early December. Permits already have been granted by the county and the state DEC.