CHINO HILLS – Plans to build the city’s first large community center are on hold because a proposed power line would run through the property.
Officials said plans for the $6million community center conflict with the $1.8billion Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, which would bring wind energy from Kern County to the Long Angeles Basin.
The proposed transmission line would run through 5 miles of now inactive Southern California Edison lines in Chino Hills, and the route cuts through what would be the community center’s parking lot.
Mayor Curt Hagman said the city found out about a conflict with the community center project in February after reviewing easements and restrictions.
“With increased voltage, cars can no longer park around them,” Hagman said.
Officials had planned to build an 18,500-square-foot community center on 4.8 acres at 14575 Pipeline Ave. The center was to have a full kitchen, exercise and activity rooms and a much-needed large multipurpose room.
“We don’t have our own large hall,” Hagman said. “We need a huge room for conferences and weddings and rooms for the senior and youth programs we’ll be starting.”
Planning for the center began in 2006, and the city secured funding for the building from the county last year, he said.
Hagman said that as time goes by, building costs increase, endangering chances of keeping the project within its budget. He added that preliminary discussions
have begun on alternative sites for the center, but the city is waiting on a decision from the state Public Utilities Commission on whether the Edison project will indeed use the route.
The environmental impact report for the transmission project is scheduled for release in September. Hagman said he is hopeful the Public Utilities Commission will consider alternative routes for the the lines in a proposed 2009 hearing.
Alis Clausen, spokeswoman for Southern California Edison, said any comment about what the Public Utilities Commission will decide is premature. The city filed a formal protest against Edison in August, backed by hundreds of residents, opposing the route that would activate and expand power lines near at least 1,500 homes.
The lines have been inactive for the past 20 to 30 years, said Councilman Ed Graham.
Residents have voiced several concerns about the power-line project ranging from aesthetics and noise to the impact it may have on home values and the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields.
This past fall, city officials suggested several alternate routes that would cut through Chino Hills State Park.
Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
24 June 2008
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