Easements for right-of-way or ROW are needed for Minnesota Power to safely construct, operate, and maintain the Great Northern Transmission Line.
Minnesota Power began the ROW acquisition process in early February 2016. Use this information to learn more about the general ROW process and review the frequently asked questions, factsheets, and links to resources provided below.
Right of Entry
Right-of-Entry (ROE) is an agreement between a landowner and Minnesota Power to allow surveyors and field teams on a landowner's property.Winter - Spring 2016
Easements are needed for safe construction, operation, and maintenance of the line on private land. Landowners will be offered fair compensation and will be treated consistently using industry standard and market study results.Spring - Winter 2016
Ongoing communication will occur with landowners during construction of the line.Winter 2017 - Summer 2020
Restoration will be discussed and agreed upon following construction to repair and restore damages caused during construction.Summer - Winter 2020
+What is right of way?
The term right-of-way or ROW is typically a strip of land used for a specific purpose such as the safe construction, operation, and maintenance of a road or transmission line. The typical ROW width for this project is 200 feet. Additional ROW may be required surrounding each structure and around a turn structure.
+How will Minnesota Power acquire ROW for this Project?
The Project recently received its final approval for a Route Permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. A final written order was published on April 11, 2016.
Minnesota Power will start acquiring easements for the right-of-way to safely construct and maintain the transmission line. Right-of-way agents will contact individual landowners along the route to start discussing the Project's right-of-way needs. A market study was completed and will be used as the basis for determining fair market value offers made to landowners.
After the landowner and Minnesota Power agree, the easement is signed and then recorded at the respective County Courthouse. The landowner continues to own the property subject to Minnesota Power's right to construct, operate, and maintain the transmission line facilities.
+What do affected landowners get in the form of compensation?
Minnesota Power follows current industry standards and processes to assess and negotiate land values in order to provide fair compensation for the right-of-way easement. Real estate agents have already been in contact with landowners about the acquisition process.
A market study completed by licensed appraisers analyzed comparable sales on a per county basis and will be used as the basis for establishing the land value – the primary component – of compensation determinations. Based on the land value, the rights sought for the easement, and other characteristics such as whether a home is present, a one-time payment will be offered. Under some conditions, a timber valuation may be performed by a qualified forester or appraiser.
+How are property taxes affected by the ROW?
The landowner continues to pay property taxes on the land as the owner of the property. Minnesota Power pays the property taxes on the transmission line facilities.
+Will eminent domain be used on this Project?
The use of eminent domain will be Minnesota’s Power’s last resort. To complete this project on time and continue to provide our customers with low-cost energy and meet future service demands, Minnesota Power will make a fair offer to landowners and allow reasonable time for conversations and negotiations. We engaged landowners early in the routing process to allow for discussion and input to route a transmission line that works for landowners and our company.
+Who controls access to the ROW?
The landowner continues to control access to the ROW subject to the terms of the easement. The ROW will not be available for public use as the land will remain private property. The landowner may fence across the ROW provided that a gate is included to allow Minnesota Power access to the ROW. Minnesota Power will work with landowners if a gate is required. If a gate is required and locked by the landowner, Minnesota Power would require a separate lock to allow access for Minnesota Power crews for operation and maintenance of the line.
+What activities are allowed within the ROW?
The landowner retains the right to use the property subject to the terms of the easement. Agricultural lands can continue to be farmed. Recreational uses of the property continue to be permissible.
- Buildings and other structures are not permitted within the ROW.
- Modification of the existing land grade within the ROW.
- Storage of flammable materials is not permitted within the ROW.
In general, the land can continue to be used as before, provided that the use does not interfere with safe construction, operation, and maintenance of the transmission line. Minnesota Power encourages landowners to contact a right-of-way agent to discuss activities permitted in the ROW.
+How will Minnesota Power clear trees within the ROW?
Prior to construction, tree and brush clearing may occur within the full easement width. Tree removal is required to comply with National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards and for the safe operation and maintenance of the line. Real estate agents will work with landowners if there is a question about personal tree clearing.
In addition, danger trees, located off the right-of-way will be identified, trimmed or removed for safety during construction, operation and maintenance of the line. Stump height will not exceed 3 inches. Trees that are cut will be stacked adjacent to the right-of-way. Brush will be mowed or chipped and spread evenly throughout the right-of-way.
Once construction is complete, the right-of-way will be restored including re-seeding. Minnesota Power will maintain brush below 15 feet within the right-of-way. Initial maintenance activities are anticipated to occur 2 to 3 years following construction and then approximately every 7 years thereafter.
+How will Minnesota Power handle construction damage on my property?
Minnesota Power will be responsible for the restoration of properties damaged by the construction and maintenance of the transmission line. The ROW will be restored as reasonably practical to re-grade and re-establish vegetative cover in the disturbed areas. Minnesota Power will compensate landowners for the value of any crops destroyed during construction and/or maintenance.
+When is construction scheduled to begin?
Construction activities are scheduled to begin in 2017 and take over three years to complete. Tree clearing and other pre-construction activities may begin in fall 2016.
LAND AGENT INFORMATION
1813 W US Hwy 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744