The FAQ of the substation debate, as drafted by City Hall | ParkRecord.com

The FAQ of the substation debate, as drafted by City Hall

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

With the critical vote about the future location of a Rocky Mountain Power substation fast approaching, City Hall has published a frequently-asked-questions document explaining the idea.

Officials posted the seven-page document on the municipal website on Thursday, as two gatherings centered on the substation were nearing. The document was posted in the News section of the City Hall website, under the headline "Rocky Mountain Power Substation FAQs." The website address is http://www.parkcity.org.

The document offers 21 questions and answers officials see as being keys to understanding the idea to move the substation. In several places, it seems, City Hall is making its argument for moving the substation from where it now sits.

The substation now occupies a location along Munchkin Drive. A developer who holds plans to remake the Bonanza Park district wants to swap a parcel of land under his control on lower Iron Horse Drive for the substation parcel on Munchkin Drive. A new substation would then be built on the land on lower Iron Horse Drive.

That, Mark J. Fischer says, will allow the Bonanza Park redevelopment to be more ambitious than it would be if the substation is left where it is now. The land where the substation sits occupies a high-profile spot within the Bonanza Park redevelopment area.

People who live on or close to lower Iron Horse Drive or who have properties there are displeased with the idea to move the substation closer to their places. They argue that doing so could depress property values and the substation would look bad at the location.

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Rocky Mountain Power says it needs to upgrade the substation to meet increasing demand for electricity,

The document that City Hall posted on the website provides an overview of the history of power substations in Park City, a discussion of the idea to redevelop Bonanza Park and the reasoning behind the location of a substation.

Some of the highlights from the document include:

  • Question: "Why is the City considering moving the substation?" The answer acknowledges that Rocky Mountain Power is not required to move the facility. City Hall, however, says an upgrade "provides the City with the unique ability to consider whether it is in the best location for the long term community and economic goals" of the Bonanza Park ideas.
  • Question: "Why is the City even considering the 1555 Iron Horse Drive location? This is a residential area." City Hall explains in the answer that the underlying zoning at the site is known as light industrial. The parcel now has a fueling station and a commercial laundry operation, City Hall says.
  • Question: "Can you guarantee that the substation will not affect my property values?" City Hall’s answer is no, officials cannot make that guarantee. The answer indicates that the topic of the potential effects on property values of a substation has not been widely studied. It also says the research "doesn’t address substation relocation in the context of a $100 million dollar redevelopment nor within a resort community."

    "With the size and scale of the Bonanza Park redevelopment plan, which would be a contractual obligation of the developer if the substation was moved, the redevelopment plan has the potential to increase property values," the document says.

  • Question: "Why did the City create the Bonanza Park Plan? I heard the plan was really created by a local developer so he wouldn’t have the substation on his property." City Hall in its answer says the upgrade to the substation "created the opportunity for the Bonanza Park Plan and consideration of other substation locations."

    "The willingness of the developer to defer action on an approved Master Planned Development for mixed use commercial and residential at 1555 Iron Horse Drive allowed the City the time to develop a long range vision for Bonanza Park," the answer says.

  • Question: "What happens if the substation doesn’t move?" In its answer, City Hall describes a scenario of the Bonanza Park development proceeding with a 35-foot-tall project at 1555 Iron Horse Drive with a mix of residential and commercial square footage. Power poles would be put in reaching to 105 feet tall compared to the 60-foot-tall poles at the site now, according to City Hall. The substation, meanwhile, would either be redone so it is 60 feet tall or it would be built to a height of 30 feet and expanded onto the site where the Recycling Center now sits.

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