Western Oil appealing Zoning Board denial

Western Oil appealing Zoning Board denial

Pushing for additional oil storage tanks

Correction: A previous version of this story reported that the tanks would be used for hazardous waste management services. Western Oil provides environmental and hazardous waste management services, according to the company's website, but company officials said hazardous materials are not stored at 1 Duchess Way.

CENTRAL FALLS – After Western Oil’s request for additional storage tanks was denied by the Central Falls Zoning Board last fall, the company has filed an appeal in hopes of reversing the decision.

Western Oil, located on the border of Central Falls and Lincoln off Lonsdale Avenue, sought permission to add nine, 30,000-gallon storage tanks on the property at 1 Duchess Way in Lincoln. The tanks would be used for Western Oil’s environmental and non-hazardous waste management services.

Representatives from the company told the Zoning Board last fall that COVID-19 made it more difficult to move and store additional oil, necessitating the company’s expansion.

There are currently eight above-ground tanks on the property, including four 30,000 gallon tanks and four smaller tanks.

Nearby residents said the existing tanks have sparked safety concerns, particularly if there were ever a fire or a spill at the site.

One neighbor, former Sen. Dan Issa, said the project could endanger both Scott Pond and Valley Pond, and wreak irreparable damage on the area in the case of a small leak.

On a regular basis, Issa asserted that there are “odors emanating from the burning of used oil,” ranging from “smells of Chinese food to foul burning smells.”

“Efforts to get an air quality inspector over the last few years has been more than difficult. In addition, the tanks would be very visible from the street when entering or leaving Central Falls, Cumberland and Lincoln,” he said.

After touring the Western Oil site last October, the Zoning Board agreed with neighbors and unanimously denied the company’s request for dimensional variance and a special use permit to add the additional storage tanks.

Months later, Western Oil is taking the City of Central Falls Zoning Board to court. The company filed a formal appeal of the denial decision in superior court last month.

The appeal also cites Ernest Almonte, the city’s finance director, as an appellee; and PFR Realty LLC, the second owner of the Western Oil property, as an appellant.

In a copy of the complaint obtained by The Valley Breeze, the company alleges that the Zoning Board violated Western Oil’s rights in denying its application, continuing that the board’s decision was unlawful and erroneous.

Western Oil, via its legal representatives, is requesting that the court review and reverse the Zoning Board’s decision.