AUGUSTA — The city’s Planning Board on Tuesday approved construction of a regulator station for Summit Natural Gas of Maine in a Cony Road neighborhood.

The line will bring natural gas from a steel main line, reduce its pressure and feed it into plastic pipeline for distribution in the city.

Summit’s proposal for 165 Cony Road was approved unanimously by planners. The 276-square-foot regulator station building is an allowed use in the area, which is in the city’s Planned Development District.

Neighbors and board members expressed concern about the potential for noise from a large outdoor heater that will run regularly at the station, but city staffers and Summit representatives assured them the station will not exceed the city’s noise limits or bother neighbors.

“Between the distance (the heater will be from neighbors), and the fact the burner is on the far side of the building and plantings, we’re very confident it is going to be a low-level issue. If it isn’t, other things can be done,” said Sarah Nicholson, of Woodard & Curran, who represented Summit on the project.

“But all the evidence is this is going to meet the (city’s noise) standard and not be an issue for neighbors.”

A city ordinance restricts noise from businesses to 60 decibels at the property line.

City Development Director Matt Nazar said a noise profile of the heater indicates it would make 60 decibels of noise measured 25 feet away and would diminish as that distance increases. He said the regulator station is more than 25 feet from each of the Cony Road site’s property lines.

Keith Lincoln, Summit’s director of gas operations for Summit, said the heater will be about 25 feet long and 6 feet in diameter and have a smokestack on its top.

He said it will cycle on and off regularly, but more often in the winter as gas use increases. He said it might run for 15 minutes, then shut off and stay off for 15 minutes to a half-hour.

Neighbor Sylvia Brown asked why the board had not had a study done of whether the project would affect property values.

Board member A. Delaine Nye said the use is permitted in the zone and planners would request a study of property values only if they thought it would harm neighboring property.

The site is in a residential neighborhood roughly across the street from the Cony Village development and less than a mile from Cony Road’s intersection with Eastern Avenue.

The property also will contain a main line valve station for Summit, one of nine the company plans between Pittston and Madison. The valves are required by federal regulations and allow portions of the pipeline to be shut down for maintenance or emergencies.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]