Lehi residents powerless over transmission line move

Published: Monday, Oct. 7 2013 6:23 p.m. MDT

Some residents living near 2600 North and 500 West in Lehi are upset that a power line is being moved near their backyard. The line is being moved to make way for a new development. The residents felt like they were kept in the dark about the project.

Sam Penrod, Deseret News

LEHI — Residents in one neighborhood feel powerless to stop a high-voltage line from moving into their backyards.

The line is being moved to make way for a new housing development. Residents who have lived in the area for years say they have been left in the dark about the move. They are concerned for their health, aesthetics and possible loss of value of their homes because of the 138-kilovolt power line.

Ivory Homes is developing in the area of 2600 North and 500 West. A power line has been far away from homes in the area for more than 10 years.

With the new development, Ivory Homes wanted to move the power poles, which are in the middle of the project, to the edge of its property.

“We were given no notice from Rocky Mountain (Power), Ivory (Homes) or Lehi,” resident Peter Mortenson said.

Mortenson has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years and said he was surprised as anyone when crews started installing a massive power line, with 70-foot-high poles.

“When you buy property, the power lines are there,” he said. “You bought it knowing the lines were there in the first place.”

Several residents say they're concerned about potential negatives impacts of the power line.

“We’re concerned about the static, and the aesthetics and the value of our property,” Mortenson said. “We feel like that value will decrease with these power poles here.”

Resident Shelly Hancock told the Lehi City Council she believes her property value will drop by 10 percent because of the power lines, according to minutes from the council's Sept. 17 meeting.

Jason Daniels, who moved to the area 13 years ago, told the council he didn’t have a chance to voice his opinion on the move.

The developer approached Rocky Mountain Power in 2006 and submitted detailed proposal for the line relocation to the city's Development Review Committee, according to Lehi Power Director Joel Eves. Once the proposal was submitted, public notice was given and a planning commission meeting with a public hearing was held, Eves said. Then, a City Council meeting with public hearing was held on March 28, 2006.

The plans were changed in 2008, and Eves said the company went through the whole process again and was given the city’s approval.

“At this point, it appears the process was followed through by the city,” Eves said.

The line belongs to Rocky Mountain Power, which was approached by the developer to move the line. Because of increased demand, the power company is upgrading the line from 46 kilovolts to 138 kilovolts.

Ivory Homes spokesman Chris Gamvroulas said the power line remains on Ivory property and has been part of the overall development's public record for seven years, following a two-year approval process that included 12 public meetings.

Neighbors aren’t happy about the move. They plan to petition for new ordinances to better inform residents in the future.

Email: spenrod@deseretnews.com

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