SECTION 1. Notwithstanding sections 32 to 37, inclusive, of chapter 7C of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the commissioner of conservation and recreation, may convey the non-exclusive perpetual right and easement over, through, across and upon a strip of land located adjacent to Hovey Pond in the town of Grafton, in Worcester County, which land is currently under the control of and used by the department of conservation and recreation for conservation and recreation purposes, to New England Power Company, a Massachusetts corporation, its successors and assigns, solely for the purpose to construct, reconstruct, install, repair, replace, maintain, operate, use, inspect and patrol for the transmission and distribution of high and low voltage electric energy and for the transmission of intelligence in connection with electric and gas utility purposes only, by any means, whether now existing or hereafter devised, lines of aerial wires and cables strung from towers or poles located on adjacent land and/or, in a location to be mutually agreed upon by Grantor and Grantee in the future in each party’s discretion, a pole located within the strip of land (any of which may be erected and/or constructed at the same or different times), together with all above-ground equipment or appurtenances reasonably required and, in locations to be mutually agreed upon by Grantor and Grantee in each party’s discretion, any guy wires, foundations, anchors, antennae, braces, fittings and any other ground level or below ground equipment or appurtenances reasonably required and, for access purposes, any temporary swamp matting as may be necessary for the convenient construction, reconstruction, installation, repair, replacement, maintenance, operation, use, inspection and patrolling of the same, together with the right and easement to clear and keep cleared by physical, chemical or other means said strip of land of trees, underbrush and above and below ground buildings or structures (the first clearing may be for less than the full width and may be widened from time to time to the full width); the right and easement at any time and at all times to renew, replace, remove, add to, modify and otherwise change the aerial lines and the locations thereof within the strip, and, as mutually agreed by Grantor and Grantee in each party’s discretion, the location of the pole within the strip; the perpetual right and easement to pass and repass on foot and with vehicles and equipment over the strip; and the right and easement to change the grade of the strip in order to maintain adequate clearances to the lines but only as is reasonable, necessary and proper in connection with the exercise of the foregoing rights and easements, subject to the provisions of sections 3 and 4 and to such reasonable additional terms and conditions consistent with this act as the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the commissioner of conservation and recreation, may prescribe. The land is more particularly described as the land conveyed in that certain deed from The Linen Thread Co., Inc. to the commonwealth, dated July 16, 1941, recorded in the Worcester County registry of deeds in book 2823, page 379. The permanent easement to be granted shall apply to approximately 0.29 acres of land in the aggregate, more or less, and is shown as “NGT 6A 60’ WIDE EASEMENT 12,440 ± S.F.” on a plan entitled “EASEMENT PLAN OF LAND #NGT 6A LINE X24/E157 GRAFTON, MA(WORCESTER COUNTY)” prepared by Beals & Thomas and dated March 31, 2015, which is on file with the department of conservation and recreation. Modifications to the easement descriptions set forth in the plan may be made in order to conform to the requirements of a decision by the department of public utilities prior to any conveyance to carry out this act. The plan shall be recorded with the easement in the Worcester South District registry of deeds.
SECTION 2. The fair market value of the easement described in section 1 shall be based on independent professional appraisal, as commissioned by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance. New England Power Company shall compensate the commonwealth in an amount greater than or equal to the full and fair market value, or the value in use of the easements as proposed, whichever is greater, as determined by the independent appraisal. New England Power Company shall assume all costs associated with any engineering, surveys, appraisals, deed preparation and other expenses deemed necessary by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance to execute the conveyances authorized by this act. The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall submit the appraisals and a report thereon to the inspector general for review and comment. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the inspector general shall review and approve the appraisal or appraisals, and the review shall include an examination of the methodology used for the appraisal or appraisals. The inspector general shall prepare a report of his review and file the report with the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on bonding, capital expenditures and state assets. The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall, 30 days before the execution of a conveyance authorized by this act, or a subsequent amendment thereto, submit the proposed conveyance or amendment and a report thereon to the inspector general for his review and comment. The inspector general shall issue his review and comment within 15 days after receipt of the proposed conveyance or amendment. The commissioner shall submit the proposed conveyance or amendment, and the reports and the comments of the inspector general, if any, to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on bonding, capital expenditures and state assets at least 15 days before the execution of the conveyance or amendment.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, on the effective date of this act, the department of conservation and recreation may grant a temporary license, not to exceed 5 years, at a nominal amount to New England Power Company in order to provide New England Power Company with immediate and complete access to, control of and liability and responsibility for the property described in section 1 shall for the purposes of this act until the conveyances authorized by this act take effect.
SECTION 4. No instrument conveying by or on behalf of the commonwealth any easement described in section 1 shall be valid unless such instrument provides that the easements shall be used solely for the purposes described in this act.
SECTION 5. To ensure a no-net-loss of lands protected for natural resource purposes and as a condition of the conveyance authorized in section 1, New England Power Company shall, in addition to any compensation from New England Power Company to the commonwealth required pursuant to section 2, compensate the commonwealth for the easements described in this act through the funding for the acquisition of land or an interest therein equal to or greater than the appraised value of the easements as determined pursuant to this act or $2,500, whichever is greater. The funding shall be acceptable to the department of conservation and recreation and any land or interest therein acquired by the department with such funding shall be permanently held and managed for conservation and recreation purposes by the department. All payments paid to the commonwealth as a result of this section shall be deposited in the Conservation Trust established in section 1 of chapter 132A of the General Laws.
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