Some savvy landowners have figured out that forcing a condemnation may be their best option when dealing with a pipeline company. If the majority of them did that, the pipeline would either not get built or go somewhere else. That’s what’s apparently happening in where up to 80% of the landowners are refusing permission surveyors on their property. So step one is to recruit your neighbors to not sell out cheap.
Here’s the math on how forcing an condemnation can work to your benefit.
1. Get a written appraisal on the ROW
2. Get the best offer the pipeline company can make in writing
3. Get a lawyer to give you an estimate of what it will cost to contest the condemnation. Here’s a list of lawyers.
4. If the appraised value #1 minus the appraisal cost, minus the offer #2 is significantly greater than the lawyer #3, then force a condemnation.
Any questions ?
Landowner Braces for Battle Over Pipeline
Posted on Jan 6, 2015
Hundreds of property owners along the route of the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline project have approved easement agreements with the developer in return for payment.
Davenport Town Council member Bill Hansen isn’t one of them.
“I’m not going to give it up because someone wants me to,” Hansen said Monday, three days after a process server for the pipeline company went to his home and served legal papers on his wife, Margaret.
Hansen, the head custodian for the city of Oneonta school district, said the pipeline company is demanding access to a seven-acre parcel on which he had been hoping to build a retirement home.
“I drive by those nice G and I (a company that makes manufactured homes) houses over on the Southside every day, and I figure one of them has my name on it,” he said.
Instead of thinking about retirement now, he said, he has to spend time finding a lawyer to represent his interests in eminent domain proceedings.
“We’re working stiffs,” Hansen said. “It’s not like there’s money floating around to hire lawyers.”
Hansen noted the pipeline company has projected the natural gas infrastructure would carry enough gas to power some 3 million homes a day in New England and in New York City.
“Everybody I know in Boston and in New York City has gas stoves,” he said. “You mean they have room for 3 million new homes there?”
According to Christopher Stockton, a pipeline company spokesman, the eminent domain process is a last resort his company has tried to avoid while inviting landowners to negotiate easement terms.
The company’s web site states it is “committed to dealing fairly with each landowner” and prepared to pay “a fair value, based upon market value principles and number of acres needed” for permanent easements across properties. The landowner retains ownership and use of the land, according to the firm, which was created by four energy companies.
“Construction damages will be paid on the area affected by the actual construction,” the company explained. “The settlement for damages to crops either can be paid in advance, based on records of local yields or can be paid after construction, based on the actual crop losses.”
Hansen said the legal papers direct him to appear in the Albany federal courthouse chambers of U.S. Magistrate Randall Treece on March 12.
He said he is disappointed that federal elected officials such as Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both D-N.Y., have not stood up for the landowners facing eminent domain actions.
The Tennessee Gas Co., which has been promoting a separate pipeline project that would run parallel to the Constitution Pipeline as it stretches from Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright, has also been sending paperwork to Hansen, indicating his property is along its planned route.
Federal regulators last month gave the Constitution Pipeline Co. conditional approval last month to move forward with it project as well as a $75 million expansion of a compressor station in the town of Wright.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has scheduled hearings for next week on state environmental permits needed by the compressor station project.