HAZLET –New Jersey Natural Gas will come before the Hazlet Land Use Board on Nov. 7 to seek approval to construct a gas pressure regulator station at 469 South Laurel Ave.
A gas regulator station is used to transfer natural gas from transmission lines to distribution lines that serve residential and commercial customers.
NJNG has explained it is upgrading the transmission line within Laurel Avenue from a 10 inch to 16 inch line with higher operating pressure. The upgrade increases gas pressure in the transmission line. An existing underground regulator facility at Route 36 and Laurel Avenues is not longer sufficient, the utility said in filings.
“The project is needed to provide safe and reliable gas service at appropriate pressure throughout Hazlet and the surrounding area,” wrote John Kong, NJNG senior engineer, in a previous application for permission from the Dept. of Environmental Protection, since the site is near wetlands.
The proposed site is located on a 1/3 of an acre on a larger 5-acre lot owned by Arthur Smith of Middletown, next to the Helfrich bus yard. It is currently used as storage. Because it is considered a residential zone, the utility company will require a variance and waivers from the board.
As described in its application, the facility will consist of a gas pressure reduction facility, which will include an above-ground heater unit to prevent freezing that can cause disruptions to the local distribution system, a filter, piping, valves, regulators, a control box and related equipment. NJNG says it maintains 35 other similar stations.
The facility will be enclosed by 8-foot-high, chain-link fencing with landscaped buffering and screening along the north, south, east, and west sides of the facility enclosure, according to the application. Access to the facility will be provided by a 15-foot wide easement within the existing gravel drive connecting the proposed facility to Laurel Avenue.
NJNG, with offices in Wall Township, provides regulated retail natural gas service to approximately 523,000 customers in Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as portions of Burlington, Middlesex and Morris counties.
In December, 2016, NJNG’s proposal for a gas pressure regulator station at 970 Holmdel Rd. it considers necessary to serve Holmdel and its Monmouth County neighbors was denied after lengthy hearing by the Holmdel Board of Adjustment, mostly due to the board’s concerns for the suitability of the site. NJNG filed an appeal with the Board of Public Utilities in 2017.
In January, 2018, NJNG submitted a second application to the Zoning Board for variances to construct the station on a neighboring parcel at 960 Holmdel Rd, but the board denied that too, after several hearings, in October, 2018. In November, 2018, the utility filed a petition with the Board of Public Utilities, consolidating its two appeals for both 970 and 960 Holmdel Road.
Evidentiary hearings before the Board of Public Utilities are scheduled for January, 2020.
The meeting in Hazlet was scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building, but has since been rescheduled. The public may review the application at the zoning office between Monday and Thursday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.