The Midway City Council passed a height restriction ordinance in Tuesday’s meeting. It was done after a vote taken by the Heber Light and Power board last month approved a project that would install high power transmission lines through the Heber Valley. Carolyn Murray has this:
Midway Mayor, Celeste Johnson told KPCW the City passed the ordinance hoping it would give them more say in the future of the project.
“Remains a very contentious issue in Midway. The project itself was voted on and approved last month by Heber Light and Power’s Board. I tried to keep the discussion on our ordinance. If you’re going to come through and do anything different than from what is already here, here’s the process. You have to go through a conditional use permit process just like anybody else, which gives Midway hopefully, more of a voice in what type of a poll, how high they can be, what the span of those polls can be, if they can be buried or not. We have never had a code for this so this is brand new code for us. And, there was a great deal of public input.”
Current code allows for a maximum pole height of 55 feet to be installed without a conditional use permit or CUP. Johnson said there are occasions when a CUP would be required.
“You’re dramatically changing the poll, the station of the poll, the type of poll, in which case you would still have to go for a conditional use permit."
The citizen’s group known as VOLT formed to address the pole heights and impacts the Heber Light and Power project would have on the valley. Johnson said there is a .8-mile section of the line that some in the group say they want buried.
“I’m one of those that’s very appreciative of work that VOLT has done. I’m always grateful for any grass roots involvement. These are people that care deeply about Midway. They care deeply about what’s being proposed and how it would affect specific neighborhoods and Midway as a whole.”
Johnson guesses HLP will start the project soon and thinks it will take a couple of years.
“I mean, it’s a fairly big project even for a company like Heber Light and Power. They have one small section done done. You know, my best guess, it’s about a 2-year project."
It would cost $5 million-dollars to bury the .8-mile section of the power line. Johnson doesn’t know how much of an appetite the Midway citizens have to pay for it.
“If the citizens want that, I am absolutely willing to do it. It’s been made very clear to me, and I believe it’s true, Rocky Mountain Power does not pay to bury lines. They will still pay the portion they would have paid had the lines gone overhead. But we just passed and not by a huge margin, this open space bond for 5 million. So, do the citizens of Midway really want to bond for that? That is something we need to find out through a survey."
The underground segment they’re considering is less than a mile, but Johnson called the area critical.