Howell allows road openings so homes can convert to gas

Staff Writer

HOWELL — The Township Council has passed a pair of resolutions that authorize road opening permits on two streets and will allow two homes to convert from propane heat to natural gas heat.

New Jersey Natural Gas will service the homes.

One home is on White Street, and the other is on West Farms Road. Officials said the conversion from propane to natural gas will result in a cost savings for the residents.

“Denying a road opening permit to the owners of the residential house on White Street and on West Farms Road would be an undue hardship,” according to the resolutions that were passed by the council on Sept. 23.

The issue came up at the Sept. 9 council meeting when a builder asked for relief from a moratorium after he was denied a permit to open West Farms Road and install a natural gas connection to a home he had just built on the street, according to Mayor Bill Gotto.

According to municipal regulations, a road that has undergone repairs may not be reopened for five years.

“We reviewed current standards and discovered the council does have the ability to provide relief to open the road despite the moratorium being in place, and we took care of that builder’s concerns with the resolution, which [states that he] plans to restore that road,” Gotto said.

A resident of White Street who spoke at the Sept. 9 meeting told officials that the cost of using propane to heat his home would be difficult for him to handle and he, too, sought a road opening permit so he could receive natural gas service from New Jersey Natural Gas.

“We took the situation to the Engineering Department, which reviewed the concept and what the resident wanted to do … and after much discussion we decided to authorize relief from the road opening moratorium so the resident could afford to have natural gas in his home,” Gotto said.

The mayor said he and the other council members also decided to review the standards involved with the road opening moratorium in an effort to avoid confusion or miscommunication in the future.

“The process has been revised, and I as well as the rest of the council have decided that every time a resident comes to us with a permit, there will be a list provided of all roads associated with a moratorium so they are aware of it beforehand and there are not any surprises,” he said.