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Avon woman awarded $236K for pipeline easement

ELYRIA — The NRG Ohio Pipeline Co. should pay an Avon woman far more than she was originally offered to run a portion of its natural gas pipeline through her property, a Lorain County jury has ruled.

A news release from Mary B. Miller’s attorneys said jurors awarded the 91-year-old woman $236,500 at the conclusion of a jury trial earlier this week.

“This was an excellent verdict by a jury that understood how damaging a pipeline easement can be to private property,” Clinton Stahler, one of Miller’s attorneys, said in the release.

The company, which plans to run a pipeline from its power plant in Avon Lake to a Dominion Gas pipeline in LaGrange Township, originally offered Miller $3,500, the release from Goldman & Braunstein said.

The company, which burns coal at its Avon Lake plant, later upped its offer to $15,500, according to the release.

The easement NRG needs to cross Miller’s 2.5 acres at 39348 Colorado Ave. will be 50 feet wide, 267 feet long and contain a 24-inch diameter pipeline 30 feet below ground, the release said.

“An easement might be invisible on the surface, but we successfully argued that the rights being taken would devalue the property as a whole,” Stahler said in the release. “NRG only wanted to pay for the strip of land within the easement itself and offered no compensation for the property that was devalued on either side. But the jury ultimately saw it our way and awarded the appropriate measure of damages and just compensation.”

Miller’s attorneys argued that the pipeline would have reduced the value of Miller’s property. County Auditor Craig Snodgrass’ website gives the property a total market value of $139,270.

An attorney for NRG forwarded a request for comment to a company spokesman Friday evening, but no response was received.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.



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