Lady Lake company's conversion to propane raises neighbors' conc - FOX 35 News Orlando

Lady Lake company's conversion to propane raises neighbors' concerns

Lady Lake company's conversion to propane raises neighbors' concerns

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

One Lake County business' plans to expand are worrying some people who live near the proposed site.

Village Airport Van/Village Taxi is a local business that owners said has experienced exponential growth in the last four years.

Owners are looking to move to a larger vacant lot in Lady Lake and build a propane tank on the property, however, the space needs to be rezoned. Many people who live near the property say they're worried what that could mean for their safety.

"I hope it doesn't pass," said Beverly Drews, who lives near the proposed site. "I don't want it that close."

Drews is one of many residents in the community of Water Oak Country Club Estates who is worried about the shuttle company moving behind her neighborhood.

She's worried there could be another explosion like the one at the Blue Rhino propane plant in Tavares in July.

"I understand residents' concerns," said Dan McCarthy, Jr., Vice-President of Yellow Cab of Central FL, Inc., the company that runs Village Airport Van.

He and his father started the shuttle company four years ago. They initially had four vans. Today, they have 29 vans and 80 employees.

"We've outgrown our facility here," said McCarthy, Jr.

They plan to move to a lot near their current site. In all, the plot of land includes 4.21 acres.

"We wanted something close to where we were," said McCarthy. "We're only five minutes away, so we're not adding extra traffic to the neighborhood."

But extra vans require more fuel and more money to fill up, so in an effort to save money, the McCarthys have turned to propane.

"Had we done this last year, we would have saved $400,000 in fuel costs," said McCarthy.

They've already started converting their fleet.

Currently, 10 vehicles run on propane. Owners plan to build an 18,000 gallon tank on their new property. McCarthy said the tank is would sit about 400 feet away from the rear property line of the Water Oak community.

McCarthy adds at least one employee is going to live on site. McCarthy also said the local fire marshal has signed off on the move.

"It's a safe tank," said McCarthy. "The bigger it is, it's actually safer than the smaller tanks. You would have to boil 18,000 gallons of propane to 1000 degrees to get it to explode, and we're not going to do that."

Lady Lake commissioners will vote on the issue on Monday night.

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