Gas company installed pipeline, property owner says
Eric Glynn drove by his Race Road rental property on May 21 and saw bulldozers and excavators tearing up his land. Glynn claims Columbia Gas was working without permission on the site, home to the metal fabricator US Refractory Products. Glynn had previously sent the gas company a letter telling it to stay off the property until an ongoing issue with the company was resolved, he said.
Columbia Gas installed a main transmission line on the property about two years ago without the previous owner’s permission, Glynn said. Glynn brought the property more than a year ago and was initially unaware of the pipeline. The company did not have an easement to install the line in the first place, he said. Columbia Gas says otherwise.
Columbia Gas spokesman Bill Loomer said it secured an easement with the previous property owner to install a portion of the gas line on the property to better serve area customers.
Glynn claims Columbia Gas offered him $20,000 for the line that it installed two years ago. He was going to accept the offer but has not heard from the company since, Glynn said.
“We were just trying to get paid for it,” Glynn said. “We were trying to negotiate a payment. We have been going back and forth and haven’t been able to agree on terms for an easement. We instructed them in writing, a couple months ago, saying don’t come onto our property again until this is resolved. They ended up sneaking onto the property without permission.”
A North Ridgeville police officer was on the site when Glynn arrived. Police Chief Mike Freeman, a few more officers and a city building department official arrived after the situation escalated.
After about eight hours, the police, city officials and workers agreed with Glynn and construction ceased, Glynn said. Now, more than two weeks later, a large hole remains on the property.
“I still haven’t had any communication with Columbia Gas,” Glynn said. “They haven’t answered my phone calls or emails. I’m pretty frustrated with the situation.”
Glynn does not know what workers were doing when they returned two weeks ago. Workers had been on the property for seven days before Glynn knew they were there. His tenant had not informed him of the situation. They were almost finished but would not explain what construction work was being done, he said. Workers stopped what they were doing after looking over documentation and seeing they had no right to be there, Glynn said.
Columbia Gas tells the story differently. Loomer said the company is trying to resolve the issue with Glynn.
“We are attempting to work with the property owner to come to an agreement so we can continue to provide safe and reliable service to our customers in North Ridgeville,” Loomer said.
Columbia Gas refrained from explaining why police were initially at the scene.
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