Category Archives: Property Values

Just Compensation from ACP for Wintergreen Property Owners

As a Wintergreen property owner, you may be entitled by law to receive “just compensation” for any decrease in your Wintergreen property value caused by Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

Dominion plans to take a 4+ acre easement from the Wintergreen common area near the front gate to construct a 42-inch wide natural gas pipeline. With FERC approval, Dominion can condemn the property for the ACP project.

Dominion will use more than 4 acres of Wintergreen common area and other private property rights to drill a 4,000-foot tunnel under the mountain that supports the Blue Ridge Parkway. The drilling operation will be performed 24/7 for up to 18 months on Wintergreen common area property immediately in front of the Mountain Resort’s only entrance and exit. Construction will require the removal of thousands of trees and will further require importing 6 million gallons of water from the James River for drilling. From the drilling site in front of the Wintergreen gatehouse, the pipeline would continue up Piney Mountain, also Wintergreen property, cross through Fortune’s Point next to Fortune’s Ridge, then continue east to Nellysford and beyond. Dominion plans to utilize Wintergreen roads for access and construction purposes.

By taking Wintergreen common area owned by the Wintergreen Property Owners Association (WPOA), the ACP will take and damage each owner’s easement of use and enjoyment in those same common areas during and after construction, caused by construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline, reduction in WPOA and resort services, marketplace stigma for safety concerns and other reasons that cause a loss in property values. This issue applies to all WPOA members. Each member is entitled to “damages,” which are calculated individually as the unique decrease in value to each owner’s property rights affected by the pipeline project. Local realtors have already seen a drop of 10 percent or more in Wintergreen property values since the pipeline was announced. What does this decline mean for your property? Will it get worse?

If you are a Wintergreen property owner, more information is here.

Property Values

Property values – something Dominion keeps saying would be unaffected by the ACP.  But….

“Meanwhile, Sarver, the New River Valley Realtor working with Reidys, said empirical data about property value impacts might miss the larger point. If a buyer has a choice between a parcel with an easement for a large-diameter pipeline and a similar parcel without an easement, the buyer’s choice would seem clear, he said. ‘It’s common sense,’ Sarver said”

Read the full article here – it also includes discussions of property insurance, owner liability, and potential problems for a buyer in getting a mortgage on a property with a pipeline and/or easement.

Updated Technical Report from KeyLog

newDominion has been pointing to the recent INGAA-funded study about property values. (Remember that INGAA is the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, “representing interstate natural gas pipeline companies” – which should tell you about their bias.) This afternoon KeyLog Economics released an update to their mid-February Technical Report on the Economic Costs of the ACP, which includes a critique of the INGAA-funded study.

Click to read the update of Economic Costs of the ACP – Technical Report.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Would Cost Nelson County $43 Million

Press Release – February 16, 2016
Contact: Ernie Reed 434-971-1647

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cost Nelson County up to $43 million dollars per year, with additional one-time costs of up to $41 million according to an independent economic report issued Tuesday by Key-Log Economics. Individuals and businesses would lose up to $25 million in property value outright, while annual losses would include $18 million in recreation tourism dollars and $1.2 million in personal income.

The county government would lose $526,000 in tax revenue and $144,000 in property tax revenue per year should the pipeline be built in Nelson County. The total annual costs to Nelson County far exceed the local annual tax payment promised by ACP LLC. These costs would be borne by the entire community, assuming taxes were raised to cover lost county revenue.

The report surveyed available literature and research studies on the effects of natural gas pipelines on property values. Effects were estimated based on the best and most recent research. Previous studies that failed to find an effect did not ensure that buyers were aware of the presence of the pipeline, and they used properties that were still in the evacuation zone to compare to properties that were in the right of way.

“Dominion wants to subsidize their profits on the backs of Nelson County’s property owners and tax payers. Property owners in the right of way will be forced to ‘host’ the ACP, and will not even be compensated for losses in property value. The entire community will suffer as property taxes are raised to make up for lost revenue,” says Joanna Salidis, President of Friends of Nelson.

The construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would reverse the trend of growth that has been a trademark of Nelson County. Since 2001 population has grown 2.8 percent, sole proprietorships have grown almost 30 percent and investment and retirement income by over 61 percent. “Retirees, entrepreneurs and small business owners in a variety of industries choose where they locate, basing their decisions on amenities and quality of life “ in which Nelson County excels.

“If what we have here changes, we won’t be as attractive for real estate,” says Dima Holmes of Wintergreen Real Estate. “(People) don’t buy (just) the real estate, they buy the experience and they buy what we have to offer.”

Over 26 miles of pipeline proposed for Nelson County would touch over 130 parcels, with over 87 percent of the permanent right of way currently forested. 2,094 people and 2,409 homes lie within the evacuation zone, should an accident occur. The ACP would be the first and only natural gas pipeline in Nelson County.

“We believe that property value and other losses would actually be considerably greater than Key-Log estimated – because even the best available research isn’t assessing the impact of a pipeline or right of way this big in a tourism dependent community with steep, forested terrain comparable to the route through Nelson,” continued Salidis.

The Nelson County Pipeline Impact Study is part of a 4 County analysis including Augusta, Buckingham and Highland Counties. That study places 4-county costs at over $100 million annually plus an additional one-time cost of $141 million. These costs include estimated impacts to air, water and recreational benefits.

The Dominion reroute recently announced will further increase these costs as more property and more landowners will be affected in Augusta along with new ones in Bath County. It affects Nelson and Buckingham counties in that as the costs of the pipeline continue to mount, proposed tax payments to these counties will continue to decline.

The pipeline impact study was spearheaded by Friends of Nelson and was funded by donations from citizens and property owners. “It has fallen to us to analyze the costs to Nelson County should this pipeline come to pass,” said Ernie Reed of Friends of Nelson. “The study demonstrates not only how economically dangerous the pipeline is but also how Nelson County would bear a huge share of costs at the hands of Dominion.”

“While the use of the pipeline is measured in years, the costs to the county are forever,” Reed concluded.

The reports are available here:
ACP Costs to Nelson County – Summary
Economic Costs of the ACP – Technical Report

Nelson County Economic Impacts from Atlantic Coast Pipeline:
• Total one time loss to county: $19-$41.2m
• Additional Annual costs to county: $39.6-$43m /year
• Total loss in property values $14.7-$25.3m
• Annual loss in property tax revenue $83,666-$144,363 /year
• Annual loss in recreation tourism expenditures $18.5m /year
• Annual loss in local Tax revenue $526,000 /year
• Annual loss in personal income $1.2 m /year

Local Communities Strongly Oppose Atlantic Coast Pipeline as Dominion Continues to Push Proposal Forward

This is the September 18, 2015 press release from the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance.  ABRA is a coalition of 43 organizations (including Friends of Nelson) concerned about the natural gas pipeline that Dominion Resources and its partner companies have proposed to build through portions of West Virginia and Virginia.

Press Release:  Despite the strong opposition of local communities along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline given threats to local economies and natural resources, today Dominion and its partners pushed the project forward by filing for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Local leaders in Virginia and West Virginia are deeply concerned about the impacts of the proposed pipeline on agriculture and tourism — two top economic sectors in the region. Communities have documented the potential impacts to local businesses, private property, drinking water supplies, working farmland and forestland, and national forest land.

“The route that has been proposed in today’s filing would adversely affect the water supplies of numerous communities, threaten the headwaters of several major rivers in the Eastern United States (Potomac, Shenandoah, James and Greenbrier), create serious safety concerns because of the delicate karst topography and steep mountain terrain which the route would traverse, and compromise the integrity of National Forests and other special areas through which the pipeline would pass,” according to Lewis Freeman, Chair of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA).

“Dominion could hardly have chosen a worse route through Augusta County,” says Nancy Sorrells, former Augusta County Supervisor and current co-chair of citizens’ group Augusta County Alliance. “The pipeline would cut through the supply area for the county’s most important water supply area, protected by county ordinance. Further, it threatens the viability of family farms in one of the largest agricultural regions in the state.”

“Pipeline construction on this scale, across this type of steep, forested mountain landscape is unprecedented,” says Rick Webb of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. “Neither Dominion, nor Virginia’s state agencies can ensure the protection of the dozens of rivers and streams or approximately 30 miles of national forest lands that will be impacted.

With four major interstate natural gas projects proposed to cross the region, leaders at all levels are calling on FERC to take a comprehensive, regional approach by considering changing economic conditions and the cumulative impacts of so many pipelines. “It doesn’t make any sense to analyze these projects in isolation,” says Greg Buppert, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “A region-wide approach would enable FERC to evaluate how many, if any, new pipelines are necessary through the central Appalachian region to meet demand elsewhere.”

The National Forest Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia’s United States Senator Tim Kaine have also asked FERC to consider a more comprehensive approach to proposals involving these four pipeline projects and their cumulative impacts on the region.

Specific concerns of ABRA members with the permit filing include the facts that the ACP:

  • Threatens the public water supplies of Augusta County, Staunton, McDowell and Monterey as well as countless private water supplies for families, businesses, and farms.
  • Devalues property along the route, threatens the viability of businesses, and holds the potential for long-term job losses.
  • Raises safety concerns with the threat of landslides, floods, leaks, and explosions.
  • Goes dangerously close to numerous schools and other communities limiting the ability to evacuate in the event of an emergency.
  • Threatens the viability of family farms in one of the largest agricultural regions in the state.
  • Threatens historic and cultural sites through blasting and an alteration of the viewshed.