PEPPERELL/TOWNSEND — Residents in Groton, Pepperell and Townsend cite many reasons for opposing the natural-gas pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan.
Among them are a belief that the pipeline will decrease the value of any property it passes through and that it will cancel or increase the cost of house insurance.
According to Rich Douglas of L.F. Robbins Insurance, an insurance company that serves Pepperell and Townsend, residents will still be able to get home insurance at the same rate.
“I don’t think there will be any change,” said Douglas.
Dennis Murphy, the principal of Murphy Insurance in Groton, said, “I’m not sure it’s going to have any effect. It has to be approved by the Commonwealth and the fire commission, so it would be safe,” says Murphy.
Spokesperson for the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, Jayda Leder-Luis said the office has not heard any concerns or complaints from residents or insurance companies but she advises that homeowners contact their insurance companies for further information.
But the value of properties the pipeline runs through will likely decrease.
“This pipeline isn’t a done deal and it’s just in the early stages but I have properties that are deemed unmarketable because of the potential of the pipeline,” said broker-owner of Century 21 Nashoba, Roger Goscombe.
A blog posted on the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) page explains the issues of disclosure and eminent domain brokers might have to face with homes and land on or near the gas pipeline.
The post was created by the legal team at MAR after receiving several inquiries from brokers in the areas where the Tennessee gas pipeline might run through.
“It was really for our members, they wanted to learn more about the legal matters,” said Justin Davidson, staff attorney at MAR.
The MAR website explains that the corporation needs to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to continue the next steps of the pipeline project. FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas.
Communication director Richard Wheatley from Kinder Morgan said the company plans to file a National Environmental Policy Act pre-application in September.
According to the FERC website, filing pre-application means FERC will follow a series of steps before it can approve or deny the project from going forward.
“There is no right line in disclosing the pipeline route to potential buyers because right now it’s an open question. They don’t have a path yet,” said Davidson.
Goscombe said that his business had to disclose the possible presence of a pipeline under a property to an out-of-state buyer. The interested buyer chose not to purchase the property after knowing that information.
“There is clearly a worry by consumers and it’s going to make people shy away from buying properties,” said Goscombe.
Townsend Center Realty owner Laurie Shifrin said, “I believe that the pipeline will lower the market value of the properties it plans to go through.”
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