FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Fayetteville neighborhood is fighting to get a natural gas pressure and flow regulator station moved.
Piedmont Natural Gas and its parent company, Duke Energy, are installing the system at the entrance of Foxfire Subdivision at the corner of Yadkin Road and Brookfield Road in Fayetteville. It sits less than 20 yards away from a home owned by a retired couple — and one of Fayetteville’s oldest neighbors.
The natural gas regulator has an exhaust stack and neighbors said it’s an eyesore.
“They put this station in (and) never said a word. Did not tell the city what they were doing, did not tell this community,” Bobby Hill, a Foxfire homeowner, said.
Piedmont Natural Gas is allowed to build on the property without informing neighbors or the city because of the utility companies’ right-of-way.
Fayetteville District 4 Council D.J. Haire said the community should have been informed out of courtesy.
“Let the citizens know. Because it’s no way you can make me believe it’s alright you can put that there and people in the neighborhood and surrounding area wouldn’t care nothing about it,” Councilman Haire said.
Neighbors said they were never told about this project. They told CBS17 they’re not only concerned about the appearance, but also any potential health risks the station might cause.
“This community is full of dedicated veterans who have sacrificed their lives for this country and this is the way they get treated? To me this is a total disrespect,” Yvonne Brown, another Foxfire homeowner, said.
CBS 17 also talked to homeowners about why they felt their neighborhood was specifically chosen.
“Because like the Piedmont representative told me, when I called, he thought we were the least resistant,” Hill said. “They thought we were complacent and we didn’t care about our community. Well, they are sadly mistaken.”
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Meanwhile, Duke Energy sent CBS 17 a lengthy statement regarding its decision.
“To continue providing safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to our Fayetteville customers, Piedmont Natural Gas is updating its infrastructure by building a regulator station on a section of land owned by Piedmont on Yadkin Road. A regulator station is designed to regulate the pressure and flow of natural gas along Piedmont’s distribution system to serve our customers and communities.
We appreciate the feedback we received and recognize there is an opportunity to improve our communications for this project. We apologize for any inconvenience and frustration we’ve caused and look forward to working with the neighboring community and local leaders on this important project serving the community.
We’ve received feedback from the community, and we’re currently working with city council members to discuss aesthetic improvements for the area surrounding the regulator station. Currently, Piedmont has a landscaping plan for the project which includes planting several large trees, understory trees and shrubs. We’re also planning to reseed the grass and add new mulch.
The community has also shared feedback about the exhaust stack that’s visible. This exhaust stack is an important piece of equipment for safe and reliable natural gas operations. Any home or business owner who uses a natural gas water heater or furnace has a similar piece of equipment in their home or business. Because our regulator station uses more natural gas, the piece of equipment is larger.
Our site selection process is designed to minimize any project’s impact on the environment, landowners and communities and is conducted in a deliberate manner, with a focus on safety. The location near the intersection of Yadkin Road and Brookfield Road was chosen because it is also the intersection of multiple natural gas lines in the area. This upgrade will benefit the community by helping ensure we continue to operate a safe and efficient system while meeting the growing needs of natural gas customers in Fayetteville.
Our goal is to continue the safe operation of our natural gas distribution system and maintain the safety of our customers, employees and communities.”
Executives from Duke Energy are set to meet with Fayetteville city leaders and neighbors on Tuesday morning at City Hall. Councilman Haire said the executives declined to attend Foxfire Homeowners Community Meeting that is the same day at 6:30 p.m.
“I don’t know if there is a decimal meter for how upset, disappointed, and angry I am about this,” Councilman Haire said.