Special commission awards in Permian Highway Pipeline cases exceed Kinder Morgan appraisals in Blanco County

Awards for properties in Blanco County exponentially exceed Kinder Morgan's appraisals.

Awards for properties in Blanco County exponentially exceed Kinder Morgan's appraisals.

Some of the first land condemnation hearings along the Permian Highway Pipeline route in Central Texas resulted in awards to landowners that are as much as 81 times greater than the initial appraisals by the company building the project.

As part of the eminent domain process, a special commission in Blanco County ordered Kinder Morgan to pay more than $3 million to four different landowners after a series of hearings earlier in August.

In a news release sent by the Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition—the organization funding two separate legal challenges to the pipeline—Patrick Reznik, an attorney for one of the landowners, attributed the difference in part to the fact that Kinder Morgan’s appraisal does not take devaluation of property into account.

“Kinder Morgan only wants to compensate landowners for the part of the land impacted by the easement and refuses to accept responsibility for the 20-40% devaluation caused by the pipeline,” Reznik said in the statement. “Their appraisal formula is inherently flawed.”

The Permian Highway Pipeline, a planned 430-mile natural gas conduit between the Permian Basin and the Gulf Coast, runs through 16 Texas counties, including Blanco and Hays. Along the route, the company has to acquire a permanent 50-foot easement as well as a 75-foot temporary easement for construction.

Under eminent domain law, Kinder Morgan can take private land to build the pipeline even if the owner does not want to sell as long as fair compensation is made—this process usually begins with an initial offer and requires negotiations to come to an agreement.

If no agreement is reached, the matter goes to a three-member panel of local landowners who consider both the value of the land and potential damages. In Blanco County in recent weeks, the commission has made a number of awards that far exceed the appraisals from Kinder Morgan.

The Gloor Ranch easement, for example, was appraised by the company at $20,739 but was awarded $1.3 million by the special commission. A property belonging to Matthew Walsh was appraised at $16,707 by the company but awarded $233,500.



 

No condemnation proceedings in Hays County have been made public, and the two legal actions against the Permian Highway Pipeline—in addition to a lawsuit against the city of Kyle—threaten to at least temporarily derail construction. But landowners in the area may eventually face the same process.

In response to the release, Kinder Morgan sent a statement through a public relations firm noting that the process involving the special commissioners court is well-established and adding that the company believes the awards in Blanco County to be excessive.

“These commissioner awards are the next step in a legal process that will ultimately result in these specific landowners being fairly compensated for easements that will be used for the Permian Highway Pipeline, pursuant to a long-established condemnation process in Texas that Kinder Morgan supports and was recently upheld in the Texas state court system,” the statement reads. “Additionally, over 60 percent of the right-of-way has been acquired for the project without lengthy condemnation proceedings. It is also worth noting that a judicial appellate process exists in order to deal with excessive valuations such as this one.”
By Katharine Jose
Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publicat


MOST RECENT

The county says it was never properly notified of the new deaths, which were found due to new reporting protocols from DSHS for hospitals, funeral homes and nursing facilities. (Community Impact Staff)
Hays County reports 34.37% increase in COVID-19 deaths

The county says it was never properly notified of the new deaths, which were found due to new reporting protocols from DSHS for hospitals, funeral homes and nursing facilities.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The bakery is known for its Texas Sized Donut weighing 2 pounds and can trace its history back to 1926 when Reinhold R. Moehring opened the shop in downtown Round Rock. (Community Impact file photo courtesy Round Rock Donuts)
Round Rock Donuts coming to Cedar Park and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. (Courtesy Pexels)
Tackling Texas' vote-by-mail system: Applying, delivering, tracking your ballot

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Stan Standridge (Courtesy city of San Marcos)
After lengthy search, San Marcos announces new police chief

After a lengthy search that resulted in two remaining candidates out of several dozen by the end of September, the city of San Marcos selected Stan Standridge as the new chief of the San Marcos Police Department.

Texas Western Wearhouse is liquidating its inventory at a steep discount and will close its San Marcos, San Antonio and Lytle locations. (Courtesy Peakpx)
Texas Western Wearhouse folds, will close five locations permanently

Texas Western Wearhouse is liquidating its inventory at a steep discount and will close its San Marcos, San Antonio and Lytle locations.

One of the plats of land that likely will be rezoned in Kyle is on more than 2 acres along Creekside Trail. (Courtesy City of Kyle)
3 upcoming development projects to look out for in Kyle

During the Oct. 20 Kyle City Council meeting, officials approved two new land rezonings and postponed a third, though a city representative said that all three will likely be revisited by the next council meeting, Nov. 4.

During City Council's Oct. 20 meeting, officials received an update regarding how city holiday events will play out in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy city of Buda)
City of Buda updates 2020 holiday activities in response to pandemic

Several holiday events are slated for November and December throughout the city of Buda, including the Festival of Trees, a virtual tree lighting and a Santa Neighborhood Drive.

The TMMP project team conducted a workshop with Buda City Council on May 14, 2019 to discuss relevant transportation issues at the onset of the plan's development. (Courtesy city of Buda)
Buda's transportation master plan seeks to improve city's overall mobility

Buda officials have delayed approval of a massive comprehensive transportation plan that will seek to bring the city's mobility in line with its skyrocketing population and development growth, but that delay will likely be short-lived.

During its Oct. 20 meeting, City Council accepted the bid from Smith Contracting Co. Inc. based on a recommendation from LJA Engineering. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Windy Hill Road expansion in Kyle moves forward with $2.48 million contract

After reviewing eight bids to widen Windy Hill Road in the city of Kyle, officials accepted the bid from Smith Contracting Co. Inc. at a cost of $2.48 million.