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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE DIVISION OF CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE TO GRANT CERTAIN EASEMENTS IN THE CITY OF MEDFORD AND IN THE TOWN OF WINCHESTER.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     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 a permanent subsurface easement over, under and through certain portions of land on the westerly and easterly side of the Aberjona river adjacent to Bacon street and associated with an existing underground transmission line and a permanent subsurface easement on land to be associated with a new underground transmission line located on the Upper Mystic lake in the Mystic river state reservation, and on the westerly side of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Wedgemere station and the upper Mystic Valley parkway at the intersection of Bacon street and located in the town of Winchester to NSTAR Electric Company, including, for the purposes of this act, its successors and assigns, for the laying, constructing, maintaining, accessing, operating, replacing, repairing, abandoning and removing of underground electric transmission lines and appurtenant facilities for the transmission of electricity, subject to sections 4 and 5 and to reasonable additional terms and conditions consistent with this act as that commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the commissioner of conservation and recreation, may prescribe.
     The portions of land, over, under and through which the easements shall be granted are more particularly described as land subject to an order of taking dated April 18, 1895 and recorded in the Middlesex south registry of deeds in book 2375, page 546, currently under the control of and used by the department of conservation and recreation. The existing underground electric transmission line and the associated permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted is situated on land between the Bacon street municipal right-of-way boundary and traversing westerly under the Aberjona river to the easterly parcel boundary of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Wedgemere station and Lowell Line right-of-way for approximately 465 linear feet, more or less, and traversing westerly from the westerly parcel boundary of land controlled by the town of Winchester and adjacent to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Wedgemere station and Lowell Line right-of-way for approximately 65 linear feet to the parcel boundary at the Mystic Valley parkway. The permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted shall apply to the aggregate of existing pipe-type cable and surrounding conduit, more or less. The new underground electric transmission line and associated permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted shall be situated on land between the Fenwick road municipal right-of-way boundary and traversing westerly under the Aberjona river to the easterly parcel boundary of the Lowell Line right-of-way and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Wedgemere station for approximately 550 linear feet by 20 feet wide, more or less, and traversing westerly from the westerly parcel boundary of the Lowell Line right-of-way and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Wedgemere station approximately 77 linear feet by 20 feet wide, more or less, to the parcel boundary at the Mystic Valley parkway. The permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted shall apply to the aggregate of existing pipe-type cable and surrounding conduit, more or less. The easements are shown on a plan entitled “Mystic to Woburn Transmission Project Figure 1 Article 97 and DCR Construction Access Plan – Aberjona River & MBTA Wedgemere T-Station & Lowell Line Crossings Winchester, Massachusetts” prepared by Power Engineers Consulting, a Professional Service Corporation, and dated December, 2015.
     A modification to the easement descriptions  in the plan may be made in order to conform to the requirements of a decision made by the department of public utilities and with a final land survey, as accepted by the departments, prior to a conveyance to carry out this act. The final survey shall be recorded in the Middlesex south registry of deeds.
     SECTION 2.  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 a permanent subsurface easement associated with the NSTAR Electric Company existing transmission line and a permanent subsurface easement associated with a new transmission line, on land currently under the control of and used by the department of conservation and recreation, to NSTAR Electric Company. The easements shall run over, under and through portions of land on the northerly and southerly side of the Mystic river known as Mystic river state reservation, within Torbert Macdonald state park between the Mystic Valley parkway and Winthrop street and South street located in the city of Medford.
     The portions of land, over, under and through which the easements shall be granted are more particularly described as land subject to an order of taking dated November 26, 1899 and recorded in the Middlesex south registry of deeds in book 2787, page 537 and under the control of and used by the department of conservation and recreation. The existing underground electric transmission line and the associated permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted is situated on land between the Winthrop street municipal right-of-way boundary and traversing southerly under the Mystic river to the South street municipal right-of-way boundary for approximately 370 linear feet, more or less. The permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted shall apply to the aggregate of existing pipe-type cable and surrounding conduit, more or less. The new underground electric transmission line and the associated permanent 20-foot wide easement shall be situated on the same land between the Winthrop street municipal right-of-way boundary and traversing southerly under the Mystic river to the South street municipal right-of-way boundary for approximately 470 linear feet by 20 feet wide, more or less. The permanent 20 foot wide easement to be granted shall apply to approximately 0.22 acres of land in the aggregate, more or less. The easements are shown on a plan entitled “Mystic to Woburn Transmission Project Figure 2 Article 97 Easement & DCR Construction Access Plan Mystic River Crossing Medford, Massachusetts” prepared by Power Engineers Consulting, a Professional Service Corporation, and dated December, 2015.
     A modification to the easement in the plan may be made in order to conform to the requirements of a decision by the department of public utilities and with a final land survey, as accepted by the departments, prior to a conveyance to carry out this act. The final survey shall be recorded in the Middlesex south registry of deeds.
     SECTION 3.  The fair market value of the easements under section 1 and 2 and the land described in section 6, or the value in use as proposed, shall be based on independent professional appraisals, as commissioned by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance. NSTAR Electric 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 appraisals. NSTAR Electric Company shall assume the costs associated with engineering, surveying, appraisal, deed preparation and other expenses deemed necessary by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance to execute the conveyances under this act. The money paid to the commonwealth by NSTAR Electric Company as a result of the conveyances under this section shall be deposited in the General Fund. The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall submit the appraisals and a report thereon to the inspector general for review and comment. The inspector general shall review and approve the appraisals and the review shall include an examination of the methodology utilized for the appraisals. The inspector general shall prepare a report of the review and file the report with the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance and the commissioner shall submit the report to the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight. The commissioner shall submit copies of the appraisals, the report thereon and the inspector general’s review and approval, along with comments, if any, to the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight prior to the execution of the conveyances under this act.
     SECTION 4.  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, on or after 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 NSTAR Electric Company, in order to provide NSTAR Electric Company with immediate and complete access to, control of, and liability and responsibility for the easements described in section 1 and 2, for the purposes of this act until the conveyances authorized by this act are made.
     SECTION 5.  An instrument conveying by or on behalf of the commonwealth an easement described in section 1 and 2 shall not be valid unless the instrument provides that the easements shall be used solely for the purposes described in this act. The instrument conveying such an easement shall include a provision that shall state that in the event that the easement ceases to be used by NSTAR Electric Company for the purposes described in this act, the easement shall revert to the commonwealth under the control of and use by the department of conservation and recreation, upon the terms and conditions that the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance may determine. If the easement reverts to the commonwealth, further disposition of the easement shall be subject to sections 32 to 38, inclusive, of chapter 7C of the General Laws and the prior approval of the general court. The terms of the easements shall require that for installation, maintenance, repair or other work performed in the easement area, the easement holder shall not limit surface access to parkland or roadways for a period of time longer than that deemed acceptable by the department of conservation and recreation and shall restore the surface condition to the equivalent or better condition as determined by the department.
     SECTION 6.  To ensure a no-net-loss of lands protected for natural resource purposes and as a condition of the conveyance under section 1, NSTAR Electric Company shall, in addition to compensation from NSTAR Electric Company to the commonwealth required under section 3, compensate the commonwealth for the easements described in this act through the transfer to the department of conservation and recreation of land or an interest therein, or 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. The fair market value of land or an interest in land proposed to be conveyed by NSTAR Electric Company to the department shall be included within the appraisal under section 3. The department of conservation and recreation shall accept the land or interest in land or funding and land or an interest in land, whether conveyed by NSTAR Electric Company or acquired by the department, shall be permanently held and managed for conservation and recreation purposes by the department. If the appraised value of land or an interest in land conveyed under this section shall be determined to be greater than the appraised value of the easements described in section 1 and 2, the commonwealth shall not have an obligation to pay the difference. 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.

Approved, August 10, 2016