Buzz about power poles quelled in Kamas | ParkRecord.com
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Buzz about power poles quelled in Kamas

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Rocky Mountain Power has scrapped plans to install electrical lines with 70-foot-high utility poles on Main Street in Kamas.

"They would have taken out all the trees and gone right up on some people’s porches," said Beverly Bemis, a Main Street resident.

The Eastern Summit County Planning Commission instead unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the transmission/distribution system, which begins in Oakley, to be built in fields west of downtown.

"The idea of this transmission line going right down Main Street (in Kamas) was not favorable to anybody, particularly in that corridor, and skirting around to the west was the preferred route," Summit County planner Don Sargent said.

The new transmission line will help reduce power interruptions in the Kamas Valley by creating a looped power system, according to Sargent, who expects construction to begin next April.

"Supposedly, the power goes out a lot, but it really doesn’t," Bemis said.

The line travels along S.R. 32 as it leaves Oakley before deviating east of Kamas, Sargent said.

Crews will reportedly replace the existing 45-foot poles in the area with transmission and distribution lines that are 70 feet high.

Plans to construct a combination of wooden and metal power poles on Main Street irked Kamas citizens in 2003 because officials needed to remove several 150-year-old trees in the city to make room for the project, Kamas businessman David Green had claimed.

When reached Wednesday, Green, a member of the Kamas Planning Commission, would not comment about the matter.

Bemis says she is concerned about negative impacts more power poles could have on the health of her neighbors.

"I would have been afraid. It’s bad enough having that power line that runs in front of my house as it is," she said. "I feel bad for the Oakley people because they’re still going to have to deal with the power lines."

But no "conclusive evidence" proves electricity causes health problems, Rocky Mountain Power spokesman DeLynn Rodeback recently told the Summit County Commission.

New transmission and distribution lines will become necessary as new residents in the Kamas Valley demand more power, he said, adding, "Obviously there is a change in what’s going on out there."


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