A widely anticipated proposal that could see natural gas come to New Canaan’s public buildings, businesses and homes now must be reviewed by lawyers to get into the lease details for a proposed “gate station.”
That station, which the Utilities Commission wants installed on an inconspicuous stretch of land at Waveny, would reduce pressure by 90 percent from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline so that lines could run to New Canaan structures.
According to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, the Town Council as the land use adjudicator for New Canaan ultimately would need to sign off on the plan, which Planning and Zoning has reviewed “in macro.”
“Right now it’s in the town’s hands, we’re doing our due diligence on the lease and looking into the deed covenants for the property,” Mallozzi said. That property is the stretch of land that runs near Lapham Road below the parking lot located between the town pool and platform tennis courts/Spencer’s Run. The Park and Recreation Commission has supported the proposal.
Experts on the natural gas industry including Scott LaShelle of the Utilities Commission say that in order for Yankee Gas and state regulators to green-light the installation of a gate station in a way that wouldn’t burden New Canaan taxpayers, the town needs to demonstrate a strong desire for natural gas.
Advocates for the infrastructure in New Canaan say the town would save money on heating with the growing division between the cost of fuel oil versus natural gas, and that safety issues also are at stake, as a gas line could replace the propane tanks that many restaurants downtown now are using.
The potential for what would amount to a “tax decrease” is exciting for New Canaan, Mallozzi said, as the cost of heating buildings such as South School, Saxe and New Canaan High School would decrease.
“There’s the potential for running lines into New Canaan and allowing homeowners to heat their homes with something other than fuel oil,” Mallozzi said. And we would be eliminating once and for all the unsightly propane tanks we see next to restaurants in town, which it has been pointed out by [Fire Marshal] Fred Baker, is not an ideal situation.”
Mallozzi and his fellow selectmen are slated to discuss the matter during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.