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Carter Ave. homeowner settles with pipeline company

FORT WORTH -- Jerry Horton, one of the West Meadowbrook homeowners fighting a pipeline beneath her front yard on Carter Avenue, settled with the pipeline company this morning, the same day she was to appear in court for a condemnation hearing.

Officials with Texas Midstream Gas Services, a division of Chesapeake Energy, have said the line will be bored beneath the front yards of 44 homes and vacant lots, and that the line will cause little surface disruption.

"All parties are satisfied with the agreement, and Ms. Horton was charming," Chesapeake spokeswoman Jerri Robbins said.

Horton said Thursday that she only agreed to give up the right-of-way for the pipeline after realizing there is almost no legal way to keep the company from building its gathering line beneath her property.

“I am heartbroken,” she said. “I had to sign.”

The settlement guarantees a payment of $15,500, or $150 per linear foot. It also says:

  • The line will be at least 20-feet deep
  • There will be no surface accessories, such as vent pipes, on Horton’s property.
  • Texas Midstream will replace any of Horton’s trees that die within six months.
  • Horton’s case is unusual because it involved a pipeline right-of-way through her front yard. Her resistance to the pipeline sparked national news coverage. Her case comes as Fort Worth city officials are debating what, if anything, they can do to regulate the expanding web of natural gas pipelines being built in Fort Worth.

    There are more than 1,100 natural gas wells either existing or planned in the city limits, and more are expected as companies rush to tap into the Barnett Shale natural gas field.

    Texas Midstream, like many companies that build gathering lines for natural gas wells, is considered a utility company under state law and has the same right to condemn property as gas or electric utilities.

    At least four homeowners on Carter Avenue in east Fort Worth have still not agreed to allow the line, and there are several other pipelines being developed in the city, including through the Greenway neighborhood on the northside, and through the Westcliff neighborhood just south of Texas Christian University.