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Pipeline Easements Approved By Selectmen, Council

May 30, 2008

JOHN VOKET

    Pipeline Easements Approved

    By Selectmen, Council

    By John Voket

    In back-to-back meetings the week of May 19, the Board of Selectmen and Legislative Council approved easements required to permit an Iroquois Gas Pipeline expansion in Sandy Hook. Ruth Parkins, public affairs manager for Iroquois Gas Transmission System, explained to the council that Iroquois is proposing a 1.6-mile pipeline loop, 0.27 miles of which is on Town of Newtown open space.

    She had previously conducted a workshop with selectmen reviewing the process and the need to acquire certain town easements to accomplish the pipeline expansion project.

    Iroquois sought federal approval to construct a new section of buried, 36-inch-diameter high-pressure natural gas pipeline near Lower Paugussett State Forest. The new pipeline would be installed parallel to an existing 11.3-mile-long 24-inch-diameter pipeline section that Iroquois constructed in Newtown between 1989 and 1991.

    The overall gas system expansion project, which would be constructed in three phases, would allow Iroquois to receive an additional 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas at its interconnection with the Algonquin natural gas pipeline in Brookfield. The additional natural gas would be transported by the Iroquois pipeline to the KeySpan natural gas system at South Commack on Long Island, N.Y.

    Only one phase of the project affects Newtown.

    About eight landowners abut Iroquois’ proposed right-of-way for the new pipeline.

    The new pipeline section would pass through the general vicinity of Canterbury Lane, Somerset Lane, Kale Davis Road, Leopard Drive, Osborne Hill Road, Crabapple Lane, Paugussett Road, Forest View Road, and Stone Bridge Trail.

    On March 17, Ms Parkins told selectmen the company would offer the town a ten-acre parcel in the area of Hattertown Pond in exchange for access to the series of smaller plots along the company’s existing pipeline on the opposite side of town.

    The language of the original proposal involves giving the ten-acre land-locked parcel, designated on local town maps as 32-1-29, in the area of Hattertown Pond appraised at an estimated $200,000. With the recent selectmen’s and council approvals, that land swap will come in lieu of easement fees estimated at $60,000 that Iroquois would have to pay the town for access to parcel “53-2-52-LT-0S and Parcel No. 53-2-49″ on town maps, which extend along the existing Iroquois pipeline near the Charter Oak subdivision north of Route 34 in Sandy Hook.

    The company’s permanent easement of the 4.63-acre parcel on Kale Davis Road is required by the Army Corps of Engineers, Ms Parkins told selectmen May 19. Democratic Selectman Rosenthal reminded the board that a recent Charter revision that would permit selectmen to accept the Iroquois land swap would not be effective 30 days after the referendum, on May 22.

    Therefore, he said no action could be taken May 19 on that aspect of the proposal.

    Town Attorney David Grogins, who was on hand, clarified that section (3-30(a)(6) of the Town Charter was changed regarding granting of easements. But attorney Philip Small representing Iroquois stated that they would need an acceptance on the two conservation easements before state Department of Environmental Protection would sign off on its approvals.