Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pipeline’s efforts stall at council meeting

July 28, 2005, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: July 28, 2005, 11:19 a.m.

A pipeline company will have to wait at least until Aug. 4 to find out whether it can complete a natural gas collection pipeline along city right of way on McIntyre Road.

Lansing City Council on Thursday tabled a request from Jeff Ogden, a field supervisor with COG Transmission Corp., a Castle Rock, Colo., company that operates a low-pressure pipeline system that collects from natural gas wells throughout Leavenworth County.

Questions about the city's liability in granting the use of public right of way for a private project led the council to delay consideration until its next meeting, Aug. 4.

"Until a court determines liability, the city should always consider itself liable," said Greg Robinson, the city's attorney.

Ogden said COG had received easements to build a new, 3.5-mile pipeline, except for an 800-foot stretch on McIntyre. Two property owners there, he said, were refusing to negotiate an easement. One of them, he said, won't negotiate because she incorrectly believes the request by COG for an easement is somehow tied to the city's annexation of the land last year.

Ogden said, "I don't know how she's got me confused" with the annexation.

The project had begun three years ago, before the city's annexation of areas along Kansas Highway 7. Though no written agreements existed, Ogden said he had verbal agreements with the county that would have allowed the work on McIntyre had it been done prior to the annexation.

Ogden said COG had completed 95 percent of the pipeline at a cost of $65,000 to $75,000, and was turning to the city as its last resort.

In other business Thursday, the council:

¢ Approved minutes from its July 7 meeting by a 5-0 vote with Council member Harland Russell abstaining because of his absence at that meeting. Council members Billy Blackwell and David Trinkle were absent and did not vote.

¢ Approved 6-0 an ordinance initiating eminent domain proceedings for improvements on Eisenhower Road. The city needs agreements with six owners of 11 tracts of property to complete the project. Negotiations will continue, but the ordinance allows the city to start condemnation proceedings if those negotiations prove fruitless.

¢ Heard council members Don Studnicka and Bob Ulin's questions and comments about the cable television franchise agreement with Time Warner. Studnicka asked about the extension of cable television and high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) service into newly annexed areas of the city. City Clerk Karen Logan said the city's franchise agreement with Time Warner required cable service be extended to areas with a density of more than 35 residences per square mile. In areas without that density, private individuals or the city can attempt to negotiate extension of the services.

Ulin reminded council members of his belief the city should look for an alternative cable provider. "What I'm looking for is a competitive marketplace: two providers struggling against each other, lowering rates, trying to get our customers," he said. Mayor Ken Bernard said there had been initial talks with other providers, including Sunflower Broadband, which provides service in Basehor and Piper. Sunflower is owned by The World Company, which also owns the parent company that publishes The Current.

¢ Heard a reminder from Russell about the next stage in the process to develop a master plan for the new City Park. A design charrette, or brainstorming session, to gather ideas for the park will be conducted Aug. 5 and 6.

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