The Wellington HOA negotiated the $90,000+ easement payment from Columbia Gas for the substation they will install at the corner of Wellington Road/Cloverhill near the tennis courts. Columbia Gas will reseed the grass, install fast growing evergreens and a fence with a green screen around it to better blend with the trees. We did ask if the substation could be pushed further out toward the open space that we have on the other side of the circular driveway before the clubhouse and more toward Grace Church, but Columbia Gas said that it was not a viable option. We had a lengthy BoD meeting that was on Facebook Live when we first discussed this in early 2017 and meeting notes have been on the Wellington website since then.
If Wellington had not agreed to the current pipeline that is running down Wellington Road, the other option that Columbia Gas would have had to make was to run the gas pipeline alongside of where it currently runs – under several people’s houses on both the city and county side – decks, fences, patios and even a pool would have been destroyed in the process. There would have been no payment nor replacement to these homeowners for any destruction of their property during this option. The Board (at the time) voted unanimously to instead grant Columbia Gas their second option – down Wellington Road. We are certain that residents will agree this was the wiser choice so that no homeowner would have any of their property disrupted or destroyed during the installation.
Currently, our HOA President Howard Pond, has asked them to back out and rework the tape boundaries to save some trees, and Columbia Gas has agreed. All of the stumps of any trees cut will be removed. Our plan is to have Columbia Gas install evergreen shrubs above where the forsythia is on the hillside. No trees can be planted as the pipeline needs a 15’ berth on either side for safety reasons. We are sure that residents agree with this safety issue as we cannot have tree roots encroach on a gas pipeline. Columbia Gas is revisiting the restoration piece on our request for additional plantings. The area directly above the pipeline will be seeded and soil will be amended if needed. We do have some trees along Wellington Road that were dead or had fallen and would have to be removed by us anyway.
The bottom line here is that Columbia Gas has eminent domain in a situation like this. The BoD acted in good faith working with Columbia Gas negotiating a five-figure settlement for the community that included landscaping replacement. Part of the settlement was divided equally among homeowners as a credit on their individual HOA dues. The rest of the settlement was used for community upgrades in landscaping, pool amenities and the clubhouse.
Update from Columbia Gas can be found here: