CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin to expand the electric transmission grid. CapX2020 will follow the I-94 corridor and will use eminent domain, the taking of private property for the public good, as it is needed. The high voltage lines are expected to be constructed and transmitting electricity by 2014.
Where the line is going
The CapX2020 power line will cross through the St. Cloud area in two phases. The first phase includes private properties between Monticello and St. Cloud and the second phase includes private properties between St. Cloud and Fargo.
Monticello to St. Cloud
The route for the Monticello to St. Cloud phase has already been determined, and a “take date” of February 22, 2011 has been set. An interactive map of this route can be found here:
St. Cloud to Fargo
UPDATE 06/10/2011: The Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved Administrative Law Judge Beverly Jones Heydinger’s recommended route for a high-voltage power line from St. Cloud to Fargo, a segment of a $1.7 billion project that is one of the largest expansions of the power grid in Minnesota. The St. Cloud-to-Fargo segment will mostly follow Interstate 94, except for a diversion on a section between St. Cloud and Sauk Centre.
UPDATE 05/20/2011: Stearns County Judge Frank J. Kundrat ruled in favor of Quinlivan & Hughes attorney Michael C. Rajkowski and his client on a CapX2020 matter. Our client elected to require CapX2020 to buy their home, because power lines will be on their property. CapX2020 took the position that our client did not qualify for the additional benefits of a full take under the statute, because they were not “forced” to leave their home. Judge Kundrat agreed with attorney Rajkowski and ruled that CapX2020 must make the full take and compensate our client accordingly.
UPDATE 04/26/2011: An administrative law judge has recommended routing a Fargo-to-St. Cloud high-voltage power transmission line away from the Interstate Highway 94 corridor once it approaches Freeport and then south of Avon Hills and St. John’s University before it heads east to St. Cloud. Administrative Law Judge Beverly Jones Heydinger’s recommendation on where to put the line will be sent to the Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to make a decision this summer on the location of the line. The route Heydinger preferred costs about $1.4 million more than the route preferred by Xcel and Great River Energy, and it heads farther south than their preferred route. Heydinger’s decision came after public input sessions and testimony from organizations and residents who would be potentially affected.
Judge Beverly Jones Heydinger’s Recommended Route
Protect your rights
Whether a utility is planning to take all or only a portion of your property, it is important to have an independent appraisal done before you sign your name to any agreement. Your property is an investment, and the addition of an unsightly power line pole or the loss of a freeway tree buffer could impact the value of your property significantly.
Hiring an Attorney
It is important to remember that public utilities are a business. Overall profitability relies on keeping costs, including what is paid in eminent domain settlements, as low as possible. If your property is going to be taken and the utility offer price is significantly lower than your independent appraisal, you should protect your property investment and hire a reputable eminent domain attorney.
Why Hire Quinlivan & Hughes?
Attorney Keith Hughes has nearly 40 years of experience helping clients with Eminent Domain matters. His partner Michael Rajkowski adds another 10 years of experience. Together, Keith and Mike can help guide you through the process of property condemnation and help insure that you are receiving fair compensation for your property.
How Are Eminent Domain Attorneys Paid?
Eminent Domain Attorneys are paid 2 ways, hourly or on a contingent basis. If you choose to pay hourly, you will pay the attorney only for the time he works on your file. If you choose to pay on a contingent basis, you will only pay your attorney a percentage of the final award, and nothing until that occurs. Individual circumstances may find either option a better choice.
In Minnesota, state law provides for full attorney reimbursement by the utility if the court award is 40% more than their (the utility’s) final written offer. If the court award is 20% to 40% more than the utilities final written offer, attorneys fees can still be paid by the utility at the discretion of the court.