David Madrid, The Republic | azcentral.com
Surprise residents opposed to high-voltage power lines skirting their community on Friday, Feb. 13, lost their fight to move the lines when the Arizona Corporation Commission voted against them. Arizona Public Service will resume power line work in their neighborhood Monday, Feb. 16.
The commission, in a unanimous 5-0 decision, voted not to reopen the case in which residents of the Sarah Ann Ranch community sought to move the power lines 250 feet from the north side of Cactus Road to the south side.
APS held off planting the four 120- to 130-foot poles as the residents and Surprise tried to convince the Corporation Commission to allow APS to relocate the power lines away from the Sarah Ann Ranch greenbelt. The residents say the high-voltage lines will harm their health, their quality of life, their home values and the enjoyment of 161 trees in the path of the project that will be cut down.
The residents came late to the fight, because the APS transmission line route was approved by the Corporation Commission 10 years ago after extensive public outreach that included Surprise, Maricopa County, Luke Air Force Base and others. APS officials said construction must continue to meet a June 1 deadline to ensure reliability for summer electrical service in the area.
Residents should have signed a form disclosing the lines when they purchased their homes, though some claim the power lines weren’t disclosed by their developer and others say that disclosure was inadequate.
The poles, in a greenbelt area of the Sarah Ann Ranch community, are part of a $50 million, 32-mile stretch of 231 poles that are being installed between the Palm Valley, Trilby Wash and Sun Valley substations.
Joe Mansour, a spokesman for about 180 residents, said the community lost at the Corporation Commission, and that homeowners are putting their homes up for sale.
Residents filled the Surprise City Council chambers in December in opposition to the power lines, and Council members acknowledged the issue blindsided them.
Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott wrote a letter to the Corporation Commission on Feb. 10 siding with the residents.
“APS waited to begin construction of this line for more than 9 years, has itself requested an extension of its completion deadlines, and, according to APS’ own filings, a delay would not jeopardize reliability of the system or service to the area,” she wrote. “The City Council strongly urges the Commission to grant the request being made by the residents of Sarah Ann Ranch … by moving the approved corridor between the Loop 303 and 195th avenue 250 feet south.”
The poles that residents oppose will carry a 230-kilovolt line designed to move large amounts of electricity long distances at the top of the poles, and several feet below that on the same poles will be a 69-kilovolt line used to distribute electricity to customers. Residents want the poles moved from the north side of Cactus Road to the south side where there are now temporary 69-kilovolt lines on power poles.
The residents reasoned it would be no big deal for APS to replace the temporary 69-kilovolt poles with the larger poles. But APS plans to take down the temporary poles on the south side of Cactus Road after it completes the larger poles on the north side.
Paul Gilbert, an attorney with Beus Gilbert, represents SLR, the owner of the property on the south side of Cactus Road. He said if the high-voltage lines have a “deleterious effect” on the Sarah Ann Ranch community, then it will likewise have that same effect on the master-planned community that will eventually be built on SLR’s land.
Commissioner Bob Burns said his concern is the reliability of the electrical system that serves the entire area.
“I understand that area is over 20 square miles, and so that would be a significant impact on that community if there were outages,” he said.
The power line project originates at the Palm Valley Substation and generally follows the west side of Loop 303 to Cactus Road, where it turns west to about 195th Avenue then north again to the Trilby Wash Substation. From the Trilby Wash Substation, the project generally heads west along the existing transmission-line corridor before it ultimately terminates at the Sun Valley Substation northwest of the Sun City Festival development.
Photo: David Madrid/The Republic)
Surprise residents opposed to high-voltage power lines skirting their community lost their fight to move the lines Friday when the Arizona Corporation Commission ruled against them
The commission, in a unanimous 5-0 decision, voted not to reopen the case in which residents of the Sarah Ann Ranch community sought to move the power lines 250 feet to the south side of Cactus Road
APS held off planting the four 120- to 130-foot poles as the residents and Surprise tried to convince the Corporation Commission to allow APS to relocate the power lines away from the Sarah Ann Ranch greenbelt north of Cactus Road
Department: Community and Recreation ………….Outlay to lure baseball teams
What the city did: Surprise approved funding for the design and development of Village 5 plan. Villages 1 and 3 plans have been completed, with a total of nine villages planned for the city.
What it cost: $222,000. Why it was needed: The villages are a big component of planning a framework for the future of Surprise.
A village is a group of neighborhoods anchored by a central activity area that includes residential and commercial as well as public facilities that could include schools, libraries and emergency services.
Each village will have a committee, made up of village residents, to make recommendations to the city on village goals, policies and long-term plans. The village committees focus on improving the long-term environmental, economical, and social health of the city, making it a more sustainable community, according to officials. The strategy is a component of the state-mandated Growth Element of the General Plan 2035.