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A gas pipe line owned by TransMontaigne Operating Company traverses the southwest side of the city.

During construction of Elkhorn Ridge Subdivision, phase II, that pipeline, buried about 4.5 feet deep, was crossed over and below and unearthed at one point in a ditch 40 feet wide and 25 feet deep near the intersection of Crump and Crawford streets.

The unearthing of that pipeline exposed it to damage and has resulted in hours of discussion by city officials -- both Planning Commission and City Council members -- and ultimately, an indemnity agreement between the developer, Franklin Miller and M.P. Development and the city.

City attorney Shane Perry discussed the problem with the legal counsel for TransMontaigne. He said it will be next year before they can get a specialized piece of equipment (a "pig") here to examine the line and check for damage or leaks.

"It was hard to quantify," Perry told the council. "I think we've come up with a way for Mr. Miller to move forward. I think we've managed the quantifiable risks that are out there. I'm completely defer to the council. I'm comfortable that we've managed the legal risks."

After lengthy discussion, the Planning Commission, during their April 3 meeting, approved the final plat of Elkhorn Ridge with the contingency of the indemnity agreement. Planner Jerry Burton voted no, reminding fellow planners that they had formerly agreed to allow no more contingencies.

One of the concerns mentioned was settling of the ground in and around the ditch that had been excavated. Miller told planners the builder said the lots in question will be the last lots developed. Miller said he thought one year delay for compaction was sufficient. Ultimately, all agreed on a two-year moratorium on building on the five lots on the south side of Crump Street.

"To deal with this contingent risk, to keep it from being transferred to the people of Pea Ridge... we came up with a term of three years for letters of credit and an indemnity agreement," Perry told planners.

Miller told city officials he was out of state when the contractor dug the ditch exposing the line. "The oil company does not feel like there is any damage. I'm on a first name basis with them," he said, adding that the contractor in question did not work on any other lines.

"As far as the five lots is concerned," Miller told planners, "where the sinking might be, wouldn't be under a house. It would be under a driveway... we went to a lot of trouble to pack that in. If it won't sink within a year, it won't sink."

The council unanimously approved the final plat with the indemnity agreement and an emergency clause.

General News on 04/25/2018

Print Headline: Attorney writes indemnity clause to protect city

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