Bob and Penny Busse are not happy campers, and neither are a growing number of property owners in the River Mountain Ranch Estates area immediately west of Foothills Drive and the Old Vegas Ranch area south of Wagonwheel Drive.
The homeowners’ anger and frustration stem from a new 600-kilovolt power transmission line being planned on open land immediately east of Foothills Drive, but much too close, some owners feel, to the homes in the single block between Foothills Drive and Thoroughbred Road.
Officials at a March 2 Bureau of Land Management public scoping meeting told the Busses their home on the corner of Foothills and Bridle drives was crossed by an imaginary line that delineated the western edge of a two-mile corridor in which the new line would be built.
While the Busses received a meeting notification, everyone living on corners in the half-mile between Equestrian and Palomino Drives do not recall receiving notifications, according to Bob Busse, and were astonished when told what was in the works.
“Of all the people I’ve talked to, 100 percent of them say, ‘What … are you talking about?'” he said. “The next thing they say is, ‘Are they crazy?'”
For the past three weeks, the Busses have circulated 80 information packets – one to each property in an eight-square-block swath from Equestrian to Palomino Drives – and the River Mountain Ranch Estates Homeowners Association has done the same with the 76 owners in its eight square blocks. The packets contain the Busses’ explanatory information letter, a map of the proposed two-mile wide corridor, a letter from Chuck Booker, president of the homeowner’s association, and a comment form for the BLM.
“We have talked to Sharon Knowlton, the BLM project manager, (and she said) she will accept comments – signed, unsigned, even anonymous; however, she needs to know you are concerned about the placement of the proposed line…,” the Busses said in their information letter. “The reason you did not receive a copy of the mailing is it was only sent to residents within the proposed two-mile corridor. I guess the bighorn sheep and desert tortoises received the mailing.”
TransWest Express, the company building the 725-mile long line from south-central Wyoming wind turbines to a major power substation in Boulder City’s Eldorado Valley, states the towers will be 1,500 feet apart, but the lines also need to be the same distance from adjoining power lines for safety reasons.
“One of the reasons given for needing 1,500 feet of division…is in case there was a break in the line it would not impinge on other transmission lines, causing major outages,” Booker wrote in his letter. “So I am left to assume it is perfectly acceptable for a 600,000-volt line to strike or land very near to the homes in the area, some of which have small, naturally curious children.”
Homeowners association Vice President Laurie Wadlington feels confident they can get the line moved.
“We got the bypass around to the other side of (U.S.) 95,” she said. “We also got the Henderson postmaster fired when he wanted cluster mailboxes at the end of the street and we objected all the way to the Postmaster General in Washington. Hey, when something comes along, we jump on it.”
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