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Fenton Planning Board Meeting Cut Short After Residents Protest

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Fenton Planning Board Chairman, John Eldred, suddenly called the board's meeting to a close on Tuesday after nearly 200 residents began questioning why they approved a natural gas project in the area.

"There's clearly a lack of transparency, none of us are really anti-gas per say, but we don't really want it in our neighborhood," said Karen Beebe, Port Dickinson Resident.

The crowds began to gather, 30 minutes before the scheduled Planning Board Meeting. Dozens of residents lined up along the parking lot outside of the Fenton Town Hall to chant and wave their signs in unity.

"We're going to continue to fight it because we deserve to be heard," said Rachel Drew, Hillcrest Resident. One of their chants was "you work for us, not NG," implying that the Fenton Board should be listening to the residents of the area instead of the Vermont-based Natural Gas Company, NG Advantage.


"None of this should've taken place, this was done behind everyone's backs, so I have to ask the question, why?" said Drew.

Tuesday's meeting comes one day after Supreme Court Judge Ferris Lebous ruled that the Fenton Planning Board made several missteps when originally approving the natural gas project on West Service Road.

On August, 24, Fenton Supervisor, David Hamlin, told Fox 40 that NG Advantage is planning on submitting a new site plan. In a statement, the Company's CEO, Rico Biasetti confirmed that as well.

NG Advantage stands committed to this project and its location in Fenton. We will immediately begin the approval process again and hope this only causes a minor delay.

— Rico Biasetti, NG Advantage CEO (August 28, 2017)

As a result the protests spilled into the Planning Board Meeting as nearly 200 residents were vocal about the Board allowing NG to reapply for the site.

"We have to keep being proactive and stay tight knit as a community and make sure that our voice is heard," said Melissa Blakeslee, Port Dickinson Resident.

Even though the Board didn't have anything related to NG on the agenda, residents continued to ask them questions about why they approved the project in the first place.

Eldred and the rest of the Board had "no comment" in regards to the Court's decision or what's next for the project. The Attorney for the Town's Planning and Zoning Boardm, Tina Fernandez (Hinman, Howard & Kattell) said the Town is currently in a 30-day appeals period, which is considered "ongoing litigation" and won't speak on the matter at this time.