The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed Xcel transmission line going through Parker just as an informal group has formed to spread word about the possible dangers of the new lines.
A group of residents in Parker, starting in the Rowley Downs neighborhood, and Aurora have formed the group Halt the Power Lines, which opposes a transmission project that will take electricity overhead lines from the Daniels Park substation in Castle Pines, through northern Parker and through Aurora up to the Smoky Hills substation.
That portion is part of a much larger 125-mile project to add a transmission line from the Daniels Park substation to the Pawnee substation in northeastern Colorado that will carry 345 kilovolts, meant to improve connectivity and increase power from the utility’s wind farms on the eastern plains. Xcel plans to begin work on the Douglas-Arapahoe Counties part of the project in 2017 and have it completed by 2019.
The Rowley Downs Homeowners Association had previously sent a letter to Parker, asking the town to oppose the project.
In part, because of feedback from residents and a group of businesses – mainly concerned about ruined views, noise and health issues – the PUC, which must declare the project’s necessity, will hear from residents July 23 in Parker. Terry Bote, spokesman for the PUC, said the board is taking comments to see if there is a need for the project and how noise resident concerns can be addressed. The board will not be hearing concerns about routing or possible sites for the lines as those are decided locally, Bote said.
Jon Erickson, a resident of Rowley Downs and leader of Halt the Power Lines, said he’s glad the meeting is being held because Xcel has not listened to resident concerns and is presenting the project as if it is a done deal.
“Our effort is pretty easy about convincing people, because no one needs convincing that this is a bad idea – it’s just about getting the word out,” Erickson said.
Xcel spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said all comments have been recorded by the company during several meetings, including those of the Rowley Downs HOA.
Rowley Downs HOA board member Mike Roueche was also concerned about a letter sent by the Douglas County School District Board of Education in May in support of the transmission project, especially as board member Doug Benevento works for Xcel. The letter was rescinded last week and board president Kevin Larsen said the board is crafting a letter to Xcel that asks they not build the transmission lines over prospective new school sites. District spokeswoman Paula Hans said Benevento has blanket recusal from any Xcel matters handled by the board, though the letter listed his name, along with other board members, in the letterhead.
“This is just something where the board president should’ve been particularly sensitive, because we can’t see what Benevento’s actions are” in relation to Xcel matters and the school district, Roueche said.
If you go
What: PUC hearing on proposed Xcel transmission line
Where: Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave, Parker
When: 4-7 p.m. July 23
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