Natural Gas Plan for New Canaan Progresses

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said the town now is looking at deed covenants and lease information for a "gate station" that must be installed to bring gas lines to town.


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.

Erich Bruhn March 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM
This may be a bit premature or not even true, but I have already heard that Yankee Gas would enter into negotiations with New Canaan as to our " contribution " to the building of a gas station and gas lines. I agree, we need to demonstrate sincere interest so they can project future revenues, but as to town contributions my feeling is a big ZERO, NONE ! We would be providing a virtulal monopoly market for them now and into the future. Therefore, our negotiation position should be that all costs of building and instillation be theirs. Hope I'm wrong re what I've heard, but would appreciate this point be clarified before we move too far on this.
Anonymous March 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Why is the gate station near the town pool? An interstate high pressure gate station is noisy, ugly and a security risk. The deed restriction in 1966 from the Lapham's does not allow for the construction of this structure in the park.
Ray March 18, 2013 at 01:08 PM
If there is only 1 supplier of gas coming into an area then there will always be a monopoly. The board should look to all and any other municipalities that currently have incredibly low natural gas prices coming into their community and understand how it's being achieved. If Yankee or any other company has to spend money to build infrastructure, they are going to need to recover that cost plus make money on that investment. The bottom line is that this has been done before in many other communities, it's Rob's job to find out which community is doing it best and has a history to back it up and emulate it.
Elmcrest March 18, 2013 at 02:41 PM
On one hand, potential for the town to save money. On the other hand, questions about why we are handing over, leasing, or selling any part of our best public park, forever, to a commercial, industrial enterprise that stands to make millions of dollars from the venture, very little of which local residents will capture. The deed is pretty restrictive, and I’m not sure Mrs. Lloyd was contemplating commercial, industrial activity when she deeded over Waveny to the town as a park.


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