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Landscaping firm gets approval for fuel tanks

POSTED: May 9, 2013 12:28 a.m.

The Forsyth County Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday voted 5-0 to approve a variance that would allow a landscaping company to place petroleum containers 250 feet from residential property.

The decision had been postponed in March as board members sought more time study the matter.

Gibbs Landscape Company on James Road requested the variance in order install two 1,000-gallon, above-ground tanks on site for fueling vehicles.

The county’s unified development code states that such containers must be placed at least 500 feet from residential areas.

However, Stephanie Gallagher, of fuel provider Great Lakes Petroleum, argued in March that Gibbs’ 6-acre site made that requirement “almost impossible.”

She also contended that Forsyth’s setback was the “most extreme” she has seen in the Southeast, noting that typically tanks 20 to 30 times the size of those requested by the company required only state-mandated setbacks of 300 feet.  

Residents of nearby subdivisions had opposed the request and the Forsyth County school system wanted to examine it out of concern for a future school site in the area.

But Tim Amerson, the system’s facilities planning coordinator, presented a letter to the board Tuesday dropping the objections.

Citing a risk assessment study, he told members that school leaders felt the request would pose no threat since the tanks will use the latest safety technology.


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