Controversial $1.3m propane plant agrees approval ‘quash'

• Nassau Propane withdraws before appeals hearing

• Plans to submit 'fresh application' for its relocation


Tribune Business Reporter


A BID to develop a $1.3m “state-of-the-art” propane gas plant off Tonique Williams Highway was yesterday withdrawn before residents could seek to overturn the initial planning approvals it obtained.

Warren Davis, Nassau Propane’s general manager, informed the Planning and Subdivisions Appeals Board via an attorney’s letter that he agreed to the “immediate quashing” of the original site plan approval so that he could prepare a fresh application.

Alexander Christie, partner with the McKinney, Bancroft and Hughes law firm, wrote: “We have received instructions to act on behalf of the respondent, Nassau Propane Ltd, in the captioned matter.

“Without admission to the various grounds of appeal contained in the appellant’s submissions, our client proposes to agree to the Appeal Board proceeding to immediately quashing the Town Planning Committee’s decision made on August 8, 2023, to enable the respondent to instruct its attorneys to submit without prejudice a fresh formal application for site plan approval for relocation of its propane plant.”

Neither Mr Davis nor any member of the Blue Hills Estates Homeowners Association, which was seeking to overturn the original approval at yesterday’s hearing, could be reached for comment prior to press time.

The residents had previously been backed by Mario Bowleg, their MP and minster of youth, sports and culture, who said then: “There’s rules and regulations that govern these communities, and we just hope that the rules and regulations that govern prevail. I mean, it’s unfortunate that a propane company would want to bring that type of organisation or business within the community of what I call a lot of retirees.

“That community itself is based on a lot of persons who built their homes to retire and rest well as they go towards their twilight years, and so to have something like that try to move into a community like Baillou Hills Estates, which has been around for a very long time, is just very unfortunate.”

Documents filed with the Department of Physical Planning show Nassau Propane had initially intended

to move just one block to the corner of Bozine Road and Tonique Williams Highway, but switched its focus to the current site at Chapel Drive in Blue Hills Estates following prior objections from the planning authorities.

The Town Planning Committee gave the new location the go-ahead even though Department of Physical Planning officials raised questions about the propane plant’s “compatibility with its neighbours”.

Jehan Wallace, the Department’s chief physical planner, in a June 2023 paper for the Town Planning Committee, said a church, school and other commercial businesses are located nearby while a “multi-family

housing structure is 120 feet to the west” of Nassau Pro- pane’s proposed boundary.

“The applicant is seek- ing planning approval to relocate Nassau Propane to a 22,500 square foot site located on Chapel Drive off the Tonique Williams High- way. The site is currently vacant,” Ms Wallace wrote. “The company is currently located a half-a-mile west of the proposed location behind Ron’s Auto. How- ever, they need to relocate and wish to stay in the same location [area] they have serviced for the past 22 years.

“The applicant hopes to enter into a long-term lease agreement with the owner of the proposed location for a space to create the same

scope of their existing business.” However, she noted the proximity of Nassau Pro- pane’s proposed new site to other ventures in the area.

“Uses in the area include a church, school and other commercial business,” Ms Wallace said. “There is one multi-family housing structure 120 feet to the west of the proposed western boundary of the site. Even though the use currently exists in the area, it is the only industrial use and the Department has concerns about the compatibility of the use to its new neighbours.”

Mr Davis, in a previous interview with this news- paper, said that relocating to the new site will enable

the company to upgrade its facilities, expand its services and hire more staff. “The primary reason is that the facility that we propose to build will be a state-of-the- art plant. We’ve been at the current location for 23 years and never had any issues, but it’s time to go ahead and upgrade the facility,” he added.

“Especially with Nassau Propane, and a plant like Nassau Propane, it’s very important to continue to upgrade your facility. Our intent is to move so that we can offer customers, and Nassau at large, much better service. That’s why we selected this particular location. There are no homes there and we have several acres of encumbered land. We felt it was a great location.”

Mr Davis argued that the chosen site is superior to the Gladstone Road area, where many of Nassau Propane’s rivals are based, because their locations are becoming increasingly surrounded by residential housing developments.

He said the new Nassau Propane plant will be designed to US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, and international designers who have worked on “much larger plants” - including in Texas - have been hired to put the facility together. The move would result in Nassau Propane’s workforce expanding from eight persons to 12.


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