Back in November, HBG City Planner Geoff Knight stopped by our Member Social to offer a Q&A session about historical properties. Mr. Knight is following up with us regarding a question he received about the 2nd Street UGI gas meter work that is being proposed and the meeting that was held to discuss the project. The property owner was concerned that it would result in having multiple meters on the exterior of their multi-unit building, and they wanted to know whether the City would approve the work and what recourse(s) there was. Mr. Knight’s response to this question is below:
The short answer to “will the City approve this?” is that the City has no regulatory authority in this matter. Utilities such as UGI are regulated by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) and their authority (to my understanding) supersedes that of local zoning authority (which is also why we are not able to regulate the installation of satellite dishes on building façades). However, the PUC does make provisions for utility companies to grant waivers to owners of property in historic districts or that are individual historic resources; they don’t have to offer these waivers, but UGI does. The waiver will allow you to request that the gas meter be replaced on the interior of the building, although UGI still has to install a gas regulator on the exterior of the building.
They are somewhat limited in where specifically they can install these regulators (as they need to use the existing infrastructure and access points as much as possible), but they are able to place the regulators in an area that might not be as visible. For instance, some of the properties in the neighborhood have asked that the regulators be installed near the stoop so that they’re less apparent visually and can be blocked by planters. Here is a link to the waiver request webpage on their website: https://www.ugi.com/meter-safety-relocation/ (see the Natural Gas Meter Relocation and Placement section near the bottom).
After you reach out to UGI, let me know if you have any issues and whether they’re able to accommodate your request to reinstall the interior meters. Up to this point in my interactions with neighborhood property owners and UGI, it’s just been single-family dwellings, so I’m not sure how they’ll treat an apartment building.
Any additional questions on this issue can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily forward to Mr. Knight!