Communities in Action

CT: Securing a Safe North Branford:

When residents of North Branford, a quaint town in southeastern Connecticut, learned that a secretive deal was bringing a massive propane facility to their neighborhood, they felt betrayed and worried for their families’ safety.

Propane facilities have a high risk of fire and explosion. Because of those safety risks, the town’s zoning regulations specifically banned this type of facility. However, the company met in secret with town leaders to propose new zoning rules in an effort to avoid the special public hearing typically needed before approval. As if that wasn’t enough, the proposed location is near homes, families and even a nursing home.

Residents quickly came together to gather more than 1,000 signatures requesting a referendum on the issue. Unfortunately, by that point the proposal was too far along to be voted on.

That’s when Al gave us a call. Al is a civil engineer who lives down the road from the proposed site. He, like many others, doesn’t want his family to live in the shadow of this facility.

Al, along with his neighbors, formed North Branford Citizens Against Bulk Propane. They envision a fair and transparent town government that gives residents the opportunity to debate the benefits and risks of proposals like this.

After we got the call, our Connecticut organizer, Jeff Butke, helped Al and his neighbors put together a plan to convince the Planning and Zoning Board to deny the proposal. The group has demonstrated so much opposition that the plan has now been stalled for four months. Jeff is working with the North Branford Citizens Against Bulk Propane to ensure that the proposal is rejected, and that they never have to worry about something similar happening again.