By Joe Holden

MARPLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A property fight is getting attention in Marple Township, Delaware County. It involves land at the intersection of Route 320 and Cedar Grove Road.

This has to deal with PECO’s major natural gas artery that begins in West Conshohocken and comes down along Route 320 in Delaware County. PECO says they have to put a piece of equipment that would charge or transfer some of the gas into smaller lines to continue to move it into Delaware County.

The rub out here for people, though, is how this project works.

Bob D’Orazio and other neighbors in Marple Township are frustrated with what they say is a lack of information about a PECO project proposed for this patch of property as the company wants to build a natural gas reliability station.

“We need to stop the zoning for industrial zoning because it’s not an industrial area,” D’Orazio said.

The controversy, they say, has been simmering for several months. It’s netted little publicity, but these folks think the proposal should be setting off alarms.

“Here in the midst of the pandemic, I feel like we are being taken advantage of the low-hanging fruit on PECO finding this site,” said Julie Baker.

People question if the reliability station is safe, pointing out it would be close proximity to dense neighborhoods, a busy fast-food restaurant and Russell Elementary School.

“Our biggest fear is danger. If a 16-wheeler comes down here, they’re going to have pipes up above the ground. If he hits it, it’s going to blow up,” D’Orazio said.

PECO says the installation will be the receiving point that will reinforce the supply of natural gas to Delaware County.

A PECO spokeswoman was checking to see if she could provide us specifics on what exactly makes up a natural gas reliability station since it’s the neighbors’ contention the lack of specifics is what has them concerned.

PECO said in a statement, “We have remained in close communication with both the township and local residents. We continue to listen to and answer residents’ questions and are working to incorporate their feedback into the project.”

The Marple Township Zoning Board is due to vote on whether to grant PECO a special exception permit at a meeting tomorrow night.

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