Relocation of power substation seen as a win for all involved

WASHINGTON CITY – City officials, residents and others gathered at the Washington City Council chambers Tuesday night to celebrate the conclusion of a nearly seven-year process relating to the site of a new power substation in the Green Springs area.

However, it wasn’t the designation of a new site for the substation they were celebrating as much as being able to come together through patience and compromise to resolve the issue.

The future site of a proposed power substation needed to accommodate growth in the Green Springs area has been relocated to an area not so close to current development. For nearly seven years Green Springs residents have voiced their concerns about the substation potentially blocking views and bringing in overhead transmission lines. With a land swap between Washington City and SITLA, that will no longer be a worry. The new site will also be less expensive for the city when it comes to installation-related cost. Pictured above is the power substation located at the intersection of Main Street and Buena Vista Boulevard, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The future site of a proposed power substation needed to accommodate growth in the Green Springs area has been relocated to an area not so close to current development. For nearly seven years Green Springs residents have voiced their concerns about the substation potentially blocking views and bringing in overhead transmission lines. With a land swap between Washington City and SITLA, that will no longer be a worry. The new site will also be less expensive for the city when it comes to installation-related costs. Pictured above is the power substation located at the intersection of Main Street and Buena Vista Boulevard, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s taken since 2010 to find a compromise that all sides can be happy with,” Washington City Manager Roger Carter said. “What is significant is that this is a great success … So we felt like we wanted to get all those parties together today to celebrate what probably doesn’t happen often enough.”

The power substation site, which was originally designated in 2005, was at the time north of existing development. However, as development in the Green Springs area grew, the site became surrounded by the community.

When Green Springs residents learned about the potential substation, a few got together and approached the city asking for possible alternatives.

They worried the substation would ruin the character of the area, as well as views of Pine Valley Mountain they had come to enjoy. There were also concerns about overhead power transmission lines running through the community to feed the substation.

The stereotypical response one might expect from the city could be one of dismissal, that the residents would have to live with the inevitable fact they would have a power substation built nearby, despite concerns and objections.

A part of the Green Springs community along Green Springs Drive, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A part of the Green Springs community along Green Springs Drive, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

It might also be expected that the citizens would be less than happy about the arrangement, as is sometimes seen in outbursts at City Council meetings when a decision does not go someone’s way.

That wasn’t the case here, Carter said, adding that the residents were patient, open to negotiation and compromise.

“They were really fantastic citizens and were ones that were willing to be patient with us,” Carter said.

Green Spring resident Thomas Brown was also pleased with the outcome and being able to work with the city.

“This has been going on for a long time,” Brown said. “It was nice to have open doors.”

Mike Anderson, another Green Springs resident, said the process wasn’t always easy, but the results have been worth it.

“I know the residents of Green Springs are very grateful,” Anderson said.

The new power substation is needed to accommodate the growth in the area, Carter said.

However, as the previous site was looked into, it presented potential installation difficulties and was determined to be cost prohibitive. The new site for the substation will actually be less expensive for the city.

The future site of a proposed power substation needed to accommodate growth in the Green Springs area has been relocated to an area not so close to current development. For nearly seven years Green Springs residents have voiced their concerns about the substation potentially blocking views and bringing in overhead transmission lines. With a land swap between Washington City and SITLA, that will no longer be a worry. The new site will also be less expensive for the city when it comes to installation-related cost, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The future site of a proposed power substation needed to accommodate growth in the Green Springs area has been relocated to an area farther from current development. For nearly seven years Green Springs residents have voiced their concerns about the proposed substation  blocking views and bringing in overhead transmission lines. With a land swap between Washington City and SITLA, that will no longer be a worry. The new site will also be less expensive for the city to install, Washington City, Oct. 11, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

For the last year, the city has worked with engineering and consulting firms to determine a better site. SITLA, also known as the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, has also been involved and was ultimately the entity the city was able to swap land with for the new station.

Kyle Pasley, deputy assistant director of SITLA, said the group’s primary mandate is to sell land it holds for the benefit of the state’s schools. But while doing so, it also strives to be a good neighbor, he said.

“This is one of those times where we try to work with the city and with the other developers in the area and some of the neighbors to try and find an equitable solution that will work for all involved,” Pasley said.

The way everything came together for a mutually beneficial arrangement isn’t something that exists everywhere, he said, telling those in the council chambers they live “in a wonderful city.”

“I think as long as the lines of communication are open and we’re able to debate and talk openly among agencies and communities, I think we can find good solutions,” Pasley said. “It’s something that’s been lost in the country these days, but is alive and well here.”

The new power substation will be built north of the paved part of Main Street in a recessed area.

Kelly Carlson, Washington City’s director of power, also said it was very gratifying to have the issue resolved.

“It’s great to see everyone come to the table and make it work,” Carlson said.

With the new site chosen, Carlson said, he can finally go ahead and tend to the business of getting the substation built and operational.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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2 Comments

  • Bob October 12, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    its a miracle

  • .... October 13, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Oh wow what an absolute positively brilliant comment by the amazing Bob. the world will be in a total awe from his point of view. The world will be in an absolute wonderment from his pure genius. the world is so blessed to be in his presence. . Praise the Lord !

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