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In win for school district, PG&E drops eminent domain threat at Cubberley

Utility company plans to find alternate location for gas pipeline upgrade

PG&E will no longer pursue an easement at Cubberley Community Center, Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin announced Feb. 12. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Pacific Gas & Electric will look for an alternate location for an easement the company was seeking to build at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto — a victory for the school district, which had vehemently opposed the project.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin announced they had resolved negotiations after meeting with PG&E representatives on Friday.

"Ultimately, PG&E listened to our position and changed course in the interest of our district and those served at Cubberley," he said.

PG&E had threatened to file an eminent domain case against the school district after stalled talks over the project, which would have included a 1,680-square-foot underground easement, an 18,000-square-foot testing easement and a temporary 6,000-square-foot construction easement to upgrade a natural gas pipeline that runs under Middlefield Road. The pipeline runs for 23 miles from Milpitas to Crystal Springs, and the district had pressed PG&E to find a less disruptive place for the upgrade.

In a statement, PG&E Vice President of Gas Transmission Distribution Construction Peter Kenny said: "After gaining a better understanding of the Palo Alto Unified School District perspective, we reached mutual agreement to seek an alternative location for PG&E's gas transmission pipeline inspection project. We appreciate their partnership and look forward to continued collaboration in the future."

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Palo Alto Unified owns a majority of the 35-acre center, some of which is leased to the city of Palo Alto. The school district is hosting some special education students and teachers at the site.

The district launched about a week ago a "Save Cubberley" campaign, parking school buses in the locations of the easements, hanging banners and gathering 3,500 signatures against the project.

Austin said the district will take everything down from Cubberley and "return our thoughts to getting students back to school."

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In win for school district, PG&E drops eminent domain threat at Cubberley

Utility company plans to find alternate location for gas pipeline upgrade

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 9:17 am
Updated: Tue, Feb 16, 2021, 8:46 am

Pacific Gas & Electric will look for an alternate location for an easement the company was seeking to build at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto — a victory for the school district, which had vehemently opposed the project.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin announced they had resolved negotiations after meeting with PG&E representatives on Friday.

"Ultimately, PG&E listened to our position and changed course in the interest of our district and those served at Cubberley," he said.

PG&E had threatened to file an eminent domain case against the school district after stalled talks over the project, which would have included a 1,680-square-foot underground easement, an 18,000-square-foot testing easement and a temporary 6,000-square-foot construction easement to upgrade a natural gas pipeline that runs under Middlefield Road. The pipeline runs for 23 miles from Milpitas to Crystal Springs, and the district had pressed PG&E to find a less disruptive place for the upgrade.

In a statement, PG&E Vice President of Gas Transmission Distribution Construction Peter Kenny said: "After gaining a better understanding of the Palo Alto Unified School District perspective, we reached mutual agreement to seek an alternative location for PG&E's gas transmission pipeline inspection project. We appreciate their partnership and look forward to continued collaboration in the future."

Palo Alto Unified owns a majority of the 35-acre center, some of which is leased to the city of Palo Alto. The school district is hosting some special education students and teachers at the site.

The district launched about a week ago a "Save Cubberley" campaign, parking school buses in the locations of the easements, hanging banners and gathering 3,500 signatures against the project.

Austin said the district will take everything down from Cubberley and "return our thoughts to getting students back to school."

Comments

William Hitchens
Registered user
Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2021 at 4:38 pm
William Hitchens, Mountain View
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 4:38 pm

Good for Cubberley. Their "win" may be temporary because utilities never forget their most favorable options, and they usually get their way in the end through SCC County Courts.

Existing easements can be an extraordinary problem for property owners, and NEW easements must be Avoided At All Costs. I know of several nasty minor easement problems in my neighborhood, but this is the worst. Someone bought a neglected old house on a large lot with the intent of building a larger, better, modern house that fit well into the existing improved neighborhood. Turns out he can't build because the SCC Water District has a drainage easement that covers almost all of his back yard, the only place where he can expand to and not violate existing zoning regulations. Since he can't sue the utility because they own the easement, he's suing his Title Company and Real Estate Company, who incompetently OKed the deal and missed the easement. His suit is to force them to buy the property from him and to reimburse him for all of his purchase costs, both direct and indirect, and also to assume responsibility for assuming the mortgage and all property taxes. I hope he wins and doesn't accept a "negotiated settlement out or court".


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