Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for June 17, 2009
Kanab City Council ponders power line
The route of Garkane Energy Cooperative''s proposed 138 kV transmission line through the city of Kanab, extending from the substation on the east side of town south of Hwy 89 to the Kanab Creek Ranchos substation on Powell Dr. just west of Kanab Creek, dominated the Kanab City Council meeting June 9.
Garkane and the City Council, spearheaded by Councilman Terril Honey, have been debating the pros and cons of at least a half dozen different routes for the high voltage line, that will be perched on 80 foot high poles along the roughly three mile route, since late January when Garkane first presented their request to the city.
There are two components to the proposal. First is the upgrading of the existing distribution line along 200 South, which is the main feeder line to the heart of the city, and the new transmission line, which will more than double the present capacity and provide for future power needs while reducing the present threat of brown-outs.
There was no disagreement as to the need for the new line- just how to route it.
The city hired Les Bell, an electrical engineer with ICPE in SLC, working with clients like Rocky Mountain Power as well as municipalities, to do it''s own cost estimates of the various proposed routes. Garkane favored a 200 South route from the cemetery to 100 West then south to 300 South out to the KCR substation, which they felt would consolidate the lines and be the least costly.
However, Bell''s low cost estimate was the split route with the main transmission line (with the 80 foot poles) going along 400 South and with the distribution line feeding off that and going up along the west side of the cemetery to 200 South, as it does now.
The routes further south along 1100 South added over a million dollars in Bell''s estimates and around three million to Garkane''s estimates from the 400 South/200 South estimates of both parties. Right of Way acquisition costs to gain the 60 foot wide swath of land needed for the line through private land holdings was a major contributor to the cost increase for this route.
Casey and Becky Glover live on 1100 South and expressed their sentiments. Casey stated "more ROW land would need to be taken along that route" and Becky said she "doesn''t want any ugly power poles spoiling my view."
"They already have power poles in town-so what''s going to change. We don''t have any out here,” she added. There is also the likelihood of the FAA protesting the intrusion of the line into the airport-landing radius for safety reasons.
The folks living along 200 South had similar concerns about aesthetics and the negative impact on property values; plus the insult to the city''s historic core, that doubling the size of poles along that street would have on them.
Resident along 200 South John McClay asked about adverse health effects from electro-magnetic fields, thought to be generated by high voltage power lines. Both Bell and Garkane engineer Jeff Vaughn agreed no current evidence supports EMF being involved in disease etiology. Bell went on to say, "there is very inconclusive concern that EMF may be a factor in some early childhood leukemia’s."
Ron Glover summed the situation up by saying, ''I realize it has to be done, but please make the wise decision."
The public hearing was attended by 40 people and after 50 minutes of on this subject, the mayor and city council voiced their opinions and concluded with a decision. Mayor Kim Lawson said, "This power line is the kind of thing nobody wants in their back or front yard, but it has to go somewhere and aesthetics and cost factors are paramount in the city council''s decision. We have to do what''s best for the city and Garkane, keeping in mind the costs to all of us."
Councilman Tony Chatterley felt the preservation of what Kanab citizen Jo Smith called the historic one mile square city core, was essential in making his decision, as well as keeping Garkane power consumers costs down.
Nina Laycook always favored an underground line, but realized this was cost prohibitive at this time. She hopes that future power needs can be accommodated be underground lines.
Terril Honey, whose home is in close proximity to the 400 South transmission route, stated he felt cost differences, prolonged ROW/condemnation procedures and town aesthetics were all issues in his decision making process.
Councilman Steve Mower, who will have one of those 80 foot high poles placed directly on his homesite perched on the east side of Kanab Creek, said, "I can live with that as long as it''s best for the community."
Jim Sorenson had been excused from the meeting.
The council voted unanimously to permit Garkane to construct the transmission line along 400 South with the 80 foot poles, and to upgrade the 200 South distribution line using 40-50 foot poles as needed. An example of the 80 foot power pole can be found standing at the KCR substation.
A letter to Carl Albrecht, GM/CEO of Garkane Energy, notifying them of this decision and encouraging Garkane to make efforts immediately to avoid any unnecessary power outages in Kanab this year, was sent by Mayor Lawson.
In other KCC action, the Kanab city general fund budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 was adopted and approved under KC Ordinance 6-1-090. The budget is balanced and represents an approximately 5% reduction from the previous year''s budget. Since the moratorium on city impact fees went into effect, 10 building permits have been issued with at least half of those as a result of the temporary abandonment of those fees.
The city was asked by Southern Utah University in Cedar City to forego water bill charges for it''s students and staff that will be conducting a six week long archeological exploration on land west of Kanab Creek and possibly on the proposed Jackson Reservoir site beginning mid-June. This was granted as a $100 value.
Finally, Tom Avant''s request for approval of the final plat for Phase One of the Creekside development, an owner-builder 77 home development on the east side of the KCR, was tabled pending submission of an amended plat with easements and bonding for the project''s infrastructure.