HAZLET – An application filed by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to construct a natural gas regulator station at 469 South Laurel Ave. in Hazlet is before the Hazlet Township Land Use Board.
NJNG is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval to construct a natural gas regulator station with an above-ground heater at the site. The applicant is seeking a use variance and bulk variances.
According to a legal notice published by attorney Nancy Skidmore, who represents the applicant, NJNG is proposing to construct a regulator station with a gas pressure reduction facility, an above-ground heater unit, a filter, piping, valves, regulators, a control box and related equipment.
A home and a commercial excavating/hauling business is currently on the property.
The parcel is in an R-100 Single-Family Residential Zoning District, according to the legal notice. The infrastructure proposed by NJNG is not a permitted use in the zone and requires the granting of a use variance by the board.
The facility, if approved, would be enclosed by an 8-foot-high chain-link fence with a landscape buffer. A sound wall would be installed along the east and west sides of the facility.
Access to the facility would be provided by a 15-foot wide easement within the existing gravel drive that connects the proposed facility to Laurel Avenue, the legal notices states.
Mayor Michael Glackin, who serves on the Land Use Board, said board members cannot discuss the matter outside of public meetings. He acknowledged that a natural gas regulator station is not permitted at the site in question without variance relief.
The NJNG proposal was heard by the board on Feb. 20. Representatives of NJNG requested that a special meeting be scheduled to continue the public hearing.
Glackin said the board members will decide on March 19 whether to schedule a special meeting for NJNG or to carry the application to its May 7 regular meeting.
NJNG is a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources. Kevin Roberts, a spokesman at New Jersey Resources, said the proposed infrastructure “is an independent project needed to strengthen the overall integrity of our system, and to ensure safe and reliable service to our customers. The Hazlet project will benefit Hazlet residents and the surrounding communities.”
Although there is an existing underground regulator station in Hazlet, Roberts said that facility does not have a heating unit and is susceptible to freezing. He said that condition “poses a risk of service outages to the customers we serve in Hazlet and the surrounding communities.”
Explaining why a regulator station is necessary, Roberts said, “Regulator stations are common features of a gas distribution system. Their purpose is to reduce the pressure between transmission lines and the lower pressure distribution system that serves customers at their homes or businesses.”
Roberts said the proposal for the new infrastructure in Hazlet is unrelated to the company’s proposal to construct a natural gas regulator station on Holmdel Road in Holmdel.