RANDOLPH — The town attorney gave the go-ahead for the town to allow a natural gas company to build a regulator station and pipeline on town property, settling concerns that the property’s 77-year-old deed wouldn’t allow it.

Residents approved granting the easement to Summit Natural Gas of Maine, pending approval by the town attorney, for $20,000 at a special town meeting on Oct. 2.

Summit needs the easement to build a 12-foot-by-23-foot regulator station and main line valve near the town’s highway garage on Water Street.

Town officials discovered shortly before the special town meeting that the 1936 deed for the property included a provision that the land must be used for a town purpose or it would revert back to the original owners.

That shouldn’t be a problem, however, said town attorney John Larouche in a Wednesday letter to the selectmen.

He wrote that the 77 years of town use has likely satisfied the clause in the deed, and the land is already used for public utilities by Central Maine Power, the Gardiner Water District and the Randolph sewer system.

“The easement sought by Summit would be no different,” Larouche wrote in the letter.

Larouche did advise that the town, in order to avoid an any future costs for litigation if the easement is disputed, require Summit to sign a defense and indemnity agreement and add the town as an additional insured party to its title insurance policy.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Bob Henderson said since the attorney cleared the deed issue and the Planning Board approved the shoreland zoning permit Wednesday, the town is now awaiting an easement contract from Summit.

The town attorney needs to sign-off on the language of the contract before it’s approved, he said.

“We did our part. They’ve got deadlines, so the faster they get that done, the faster they can move forward on the project,” Henderson said on Thursday. “We’re not moving till we get the easement contract. We’re crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s.”

Michael Duguay, Summit’s director of business development, said in an email Thursday that the company will start construction on the regulator station and main valve immediately after securing building permits and finalizing the easement. He said he expects that to be done “within a matter of days.”

The regulator station and main pipe valve will be used to connect the steel transmission pipe being installed north along Route 27 to plastic distribution pipes that will be able to reach Randolph and Gardiner customers.

Summit is expected to reach customers in Gardiner, including Gardiner Area High School, Gardiner Regional Middle School and Laura E. Richards Elementary School, with distribution pipes by this heating season.

Duguay said initial construction will deliver natural gas service to residential and commercial customers in Randolph starting next year. He said the company plans to build distribution pipes to downtown streets along Route 27, through lateral side streets and in the area of T.C. Hamlin Elementary school, in 2014.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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