Holmdel residents sign petition opposing NJNG regulator station

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Hundreds of Holmdel residents have signed a petition that asserts their opposition to a proposal, which calls for the construction of a New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) regulator station on a scenic byway in the community.

Residents signed the petition online or in person at Fox Hollow Vineyards, which is located at 939 Holmdel Road, on Feb. 3. The construction of a regulator station on a 16-acre tract at 970 Holmdel Road was denied by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2018.

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In December, the Township Committee rejected a proposed settlement agreement, which would have, if approved, permitted NJNG to construct the regulator station.

The NJNG has appealed the zoning board’s denial of its application and a judge from the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law will conduct a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the Holmdel Senior/Community Center, which is located at 6 Crawfords Corner Road.

During the hearing, members of the public will have an opportunity to be heard and/or to submit written comments or statements, according to a notice posted on the Holmdel municipal website.

On Feb. 3, dozens of residents visited Fox Hollow Vineyards, which is near the proposed site of the regulator station, to voice their displeasure about the proposed construction of a gas regulator station in Holmdel.

For several years, residents have said the construction of a regulator station on Holmdel Road would, if approved, negatively impact the environment and their quality of life, decrease property values and pose potential health risks to them.

Committeeman Prakash Santhana, who joined the Township Committee in January, said, “I support the effort, that is pretty much it.”

“I think this stretch of land off Holmdel Road is an inappropriate location for something so industrial,” said Pat Devine, a 22-year resident of Holmdel. “I think (a regulator station) would change the character of the area. I am concerned about the safety and the proximity (of the infrastructure) to schools. If (NJNG) needs it, I think they can find a better place for it.”

Theresa Decrescenzo, who moved to Holmdel from Staten Island, N.Y., two years ago, said Holmdel “is a beautiful town. My grandchildren go to the Village Elementary School and I think (the proposed regulator station) is too close for comfort … I don’t think (students) should be anywhere near (a regulator station).

Kin Gee, president of the citizens group Consumers Helping Affect Regulation of Gas & Electric, said, “many concerns were not addressed by NJNG at zoning board hearings.

“The petition should be denied by Administrative Law Judge Elia A. Pelios and the (New Jersey Board of Public Utilities) since NJNG has not made the case why this (regulator station) is needed for Holmdel and New Jersey’s public interest,” Gee said.

Resident Ken Schrankel said the proposed regulator station would not be beneficial to Holmdel and said, “we already have existing infrastructure.”

At present, a temporary regulator station is underground at the Vonage property in Holmdel. NJNG representatives previously said that infrastructure is not designed for long-term use.

NJNG representatives have said the proposed regulator station on Holmdel Road will not have an adverse effect on property values or a negative affect on the environment.

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