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September 18, 2021

Propane storage station on Planning Commission agenda

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville Planning Commission on Tuesday is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council on the proposed propane storage and transfer facility set to be constructed at 950 W. Beach St.

The item was originally on the commission’s July agenda but City of Watsonville staff postponed the decision because an adjacent property owner did not receive notice of the meeting, Watsonville Community Development Director Suzi Merriam said. Merriam said the city’s list of property owners within 300 feet of the property was outdated.

The project would reshape a vacant 0.7-acre lot by installing a new railcar unloading tower and two new tank unloading stations. It would also refurbish and move an already existing 50,000-gallon propane tank. The project has the potential to add four additional 30,000-gallon propane tanks.

Richard Kojak of Mountain Propane Service in Felton owns the property and is leading the project.

The project qualifies for an infill (Class 32) exemption from provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), meaning it does not require additional environmental review so long as the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality or water quality. The project also qualifies for a “common sense” exemption.

However, the commission and the council can deny the project if they conclude that the facility may pose a threat to public health, or that it is not compatible with adjacent developments.

According to the prepared staff report, the facility would be 300 feet away from a manufacturing plant that produces approximately 65,000 gallons of biodiesel a day. That, the staff report reads, “raises concerns.”

“Its proximity to the project site presents a potential safety hazard. In the case of an accidental release from or failure of the proposed propane storage tank(s) that results in a fire or explosion, this, in turn, might result in a larger and more catastrophic fire and property damage and/or loss of life were it to spread to the nearby biodiesel plant,” the staff report reads.

For information on the project and/or to participate in the meeting click here. It is set to start at 6pm.

Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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