Letters informing some homeowners they will no longer have to contend with the NEXUS pipeline crossing their properties are creating as many questions as answers.
In their mailboxes last Monday, some on Oberlin’s south side found this message from Spectra Energy, the company behind the proposed 255-mile natural gas line: “This letter is to notify you that your property is no longer within the NEXUS project study corridor and survey access is no longer being requested at this time.”
The letter was signed by Walton Johnson, NEXUS right of way project manager.
Oberlin city officials also received two letters regarding pieces of land no longer under considered for the pipeline path.
Those properties include land adjacent to Oberlin’s reservoir on Parsons Road, the city recreation complex on West Hamilton Street, and a parcel that’s part of the Ramsey right-of-way and at the end of Reserve Avenue.
Property owner Karen Fridenstine received a letter stating her 54.7 acres between Reserve Avenue and Splash Zone is no longer being considered.
A stringent opponent of the NEXUS line, she isn’t allowing herself to get excited.
“I do not have a feeling of confidence regarding the letter,” she said. “They used terms such as ‘at this time.’”
Fridenstine said she has heard of others who have received the same message, only to learn roughly a week later the gas company changed its mind.
The letters cast some confusion as to the company’s intentions.
According to Spectra Energy’s filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month, the proposed pipeline would pass through Pittsfield Township and cross Oberlin’s southern border just north of Reserve Avenue.
“It’s a real mystery of what’s going on right now,” said Oberlin law director Jon Clark. “It’s possible they have rerouted it.”
Spectra Energy spokesman Arthur Diestel has previously gone on record saying “study corridors” 600 feet wide were created for the proposed route to determine the best location for the pipeline and work space areas.
“Preliminary field surveys in areas along the proposed route have resulted in a reconfiguration of the proposed project facilities,” he said Thursday via email. “Letters are being sent to notify landowners whose property is no longer within the NEXUS project study corridor, therefore, survey access is no longer being requested from those landowners at this time.”
In a follow-up phone call, Diestel said he expects the route to continue to evolve.
The letter is not stopping Fridenstine from voicing her concerns about the proposed plan, whether it passes through her property or someone else’s. “It’s too close for comfort,” she said.
Kipton resident Sandy Springer, who lives on Gore Orphanage Road, said she has not received a letter but called Spectra Energy seeking more information and demanding a letter herself.
“We don’t want it coming through our property,” she said. “We don’t want to push it on somebody else either. We want to push it on a safe corridor.”
Her husband, George Springer, said the pipeline is expected to pass 175 feet from their home and 75 feet from his neighbors across the street, who have propane tanks outside their homes.
“If something would ever happen to that pipeline it would destroy this side of Gore Orphange road,” he said.
If Spectra Energy does not change the route of the proposed pipeline the Springer’s plan to move, they told the News-Tribune.
“I don’t want to live by it,” George said. “We have been fighting a losing battle. It’s aggravating.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.