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LP storage tank needs changes to satisfy city, nearby residents want it gone


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) --  Several Stevens Point residents are opposed to a LP gas storage tank so close to their homes.

Cooper Oil operates a fuel depot for their gas, diesel, and fuel oil business on Wood Street in Stevens Point, across from the former Vetter Manufacturing plant and close to the railroad. As many of their customers are converting from fuel oil to liquified petroleum gas to heat their homes, Cooper Oil has installed a thirty-thousand gallon LP storage tank.

They can’t use the tank, because after getting state and federal approval, they learned there are additional city codes the new installation did not meet, such as meeting a required forty-foot setback from the street. Also, several neighbors don’t want the tank in their neighborhood saying it will be dangerous and will lower their property values.

The Cooper Oil property is zoned heavy industrial, but the nearby houses over the back property line are zoned either light industrial or residential.

Stevens Point’s City Council was asked for a conditional use permit for the tank. The council approved the conditional use, but Council President Jerry Moore says Cooper Oil will have to make some changes. “They still have to meet some of those conditions, and if they can’t meet them, they’re going to have to find somewhere else to put the tank.”

Moore believes Cooper Oil will have to reinstall the tank at nearly 90 degrees from where it sits now to meet setback requirements, since it’s now only 19 feet from the street. “They’ve already met state and federal guidelines as far as I can tell, so the city is the hangup. I’m hoping that they can meet all of our requirements, too, so they can continue on with business.”

Cooper Oil can apply for a variance from the Board of Review, but Mayor Andrew Halverson says installing the tank was a self-imposed hardship. “The hardship that they’re focusing on, which is distance from a road, it’s very hard to allow that to rise to the level of being a hardship under the laws that regulate variances. A self-imposed hardship is not something that you can really lean on from a case law perspective.”

If everything else is brought up to code, Cooper Oil will also be required to fence the tank and install some landscaping and screening to minimize the view from the nearby houses.