Order to authorize the Town Manager to execute an Easement and Relocation Agreement for a natural gas pipeline.
A public comment period will be included with this item (3 minutes).
ACTION: Council action is anticipated.
On May 6, Northern Utilities, Inc. (“Unitil”) obtained Planning Board Shoreland Zone Approval to relocate an existing gas pipeline under the West Branch of the Piscataqua River. The impetus for the relocation is the Maine Turnpike Authority’s (MTA) reconstruction of their bridge over the river. As part of the bridge reconstruction, the MTA is requiring that Unitil relocate the portion of its existing pipeline that lies in the area underneath the to-be reconstructed bridge. The relocated pipeline will be located on or under property owned by the MTA and the Falmouth Land Trust.
A short segment of the relocated pipeline on Land Trust property is proposed to lie in an area outside of Unitil’s existing pipeline easement, and in an area subject to a conservation easement held by the Town that prohibits certain site alterations on the property. Since the entire portion of this relocated segment of pipeline will be installed using underground horizontal directional drilling methods, Unitil will not be altering the surface of the property. The only surface alterations that will occur will be alterations associated with clearing temporary staging areas necessary to conduct the proposed pipeline work. These staging areas will be restored and re-vegetated to their natural condition upon completion of the work.
The Land Trust has agreed to grant Unitil a 40 foot wide pipeline easement over its property to allow for the installation of the relocated pipeline. The Town, as holder of the conservation easement on the Land Trust property, is required to join in this pipeline easement agreement to allow the work to occur. The easement language, prepared by Unitil, has been reviewed by both the Town Attorney and the Land Trust’s attorney. Both attorneys are of the opinion that the pipeline relocation work and associated staging areas do not “materially detract” from the conservation values of the conservation easement under Title 33 M.R.S. Section 477-A(2)(B).
Please find attached the following:
• The proposed “Easement and Relocation Agreement”.
• A memo from Unitil describing the proposed project.
• "Attachment B” depicting the existing and proposed pipeline locations.
• "Exhibit A” showing the proposed relocated easement area.
• “Exhibit B” – Re-Vegetation Plan