Thursday, December 12, 2013
AUGUSTA — A proposal to build a small natural gas regulator station in a Cony Road neighborhood goes to the Planning Board tonight.
The proposal already has drawn some criticism from a neighbor, who said he broke off negotiations to have the station on his land across the street from the proposed site out of concern that noise from it could disturb neighbors.
Summit Natural Gas of Maine is seeking a minor development site review from planners to build a 276-square-foot regulator station and main line valve on part of a lot at 165 Cony Road for its natural gas pipeline, which is under construction.
The site is in a residential neighborhood, in the Planned Development zoning district, roughly across the street from Cony Village and less than a mile from Cony Road’s intersection with Eastern Avenue.
Planners will consider the proposal at their meeting tonight, which begins at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Augusta City Center.
The city already has heard from Cony Road resident Jeffrey Shostak, who said in a letter to planners that he negotiated with Summit about putting the station on his property, but he never reached agreement on a deal with the company.
He said Summit officials told him it would generate noise of up to 85 decibels. City ordinance restricts noise from businesses to 60 decibels at the property line.
“Any level of noise that would disrupt the lives of the residents in the area, particularly at night and on weekends, on a consistent and extended basis, is unacceptable to me,” Shostak wrote, adding that three homes are within 50 to 100 feet of the proposed location.
In application materials, Summit representatives said the facility will meet the state noise standards of 75 decibels at the property line. At the closest residence, the state limit is 60 decibels during the day and 50 decibels at night, the materials say.
Michael Duguay, business development director for Summit, said Monday the only thing in the regulator station that would make noise would be a heater.
He said the heater would make no more than 60 decibels of noise, when measured from 30 feet away. Also, he said, all abutting properties to the site are more than 30 feet from where the heater will be located.
“They’re an inconspicuous facility,” Duguay said of regulator stations. “The only thing there that’ll make noise is a heater, which doesn’t make a lot of noise.”
Regulator stations, according to Summit’s application filed with the city by Sarah Nicholson, technical manager for Summit representative Woodard & Curran, provide the connection point between higher pressure steel transmission pipelines and lower pressure distribution pipelines.
The building also would serve as a main line valve station for Summit, one of nine such valves on the pipeline between Pittston and Madison. The valves allow portions of the pipeline to be shut down for maintenance or emergencies.
The main line valve would be in a separate, 20-by-20-foot fenced-in area where a pipe would come out of the ground, into a valve, and go back down into the ground. It would not be in a building.
The property is owned by Raymond Rodrigue. An easement would be sold to Summit, for $80,000, contingent on Summit securing the needed permits to build on the site, according to a sales agreement provided to the city.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647