Ferrisburgh, Vt. Green Line still discussing a deal

FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard on Tuesday met with the town’s Vermont Green Line (VGL) committee and town attorney behind closed doors to discuss the proposed deal for the town to host several miles of underground power line between Lake Champlain and Waltham on Route 7.

But Selectboard Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said an agreement between Ferrisburgh and the Massachusetts companies proposing the $650 million, 400-megawatt VGL —  Anbaric Transmission and National Grid — remains a long way off.

“We’re still drafting mutual language. We should now in the next two months where that’s going to go,” Lawrence said, adding,

But Lawrence said she believes Ferrisburgh and the VGL companies will strike such a deal, called a Host Town Agreement.

“I’m very optimistic that we can come to an agreement,” she said.

That agreement will deal with, among other issues, compensation to the town for allowing work in its road rights of way; design details, notably how the work will handle culverts and where the power line will cross town roads; construction techniques; restoration of affected land; and easement language.

“So much is involved, and there are so many pieces, so to speak, that we need to have appropriate language,” Lawrence said.

The VGL companies have already agreed to pay Ferrisburgh’s legal fees and costs of analyzing the construction plans and evaluating the VGL property for tax purposes; they have placed $40,000 in an escrow account for those purposes.

Officials in New Haven, which will host a large, above-ground converter station, this spring agreed with the VGL companies on a deal that includes $1.4 million a year for 40 years, plus $4 million toward a new fire station and town garage.

At a November meeting in Ferrisburgh, VGL representatives said they would pay the town at least $350,000 a year for 20 years on top of the estimated $150,000 a year in local property taxes the project would generate, and left the door open for further talks.

The VGL is intended to bring hydro and wind power from upstate New York by cable under Lake Champlain and into the New England power grid via the converter station in New Haven.

Plans call for bringing the line into Lake Champlain from Beekmantown, N.Y., to Ferrisburgh at Kingsland Bay. From there it would run underground in a two-foot-by-four-foot concrete box along Kingsland Bay, Sand, Little Chicago and Botsford roads and Tuppers Crossing on the way to Route 7. Junction boxes, about 120 square feet, will be needed along the road about every 2,500 feet to hold line splices.

Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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