Continue Underground Power Service for Kitzmiller Residents

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We, the undersigned, are concerned residents and property owners of the Kitzmiller Road neighborhood.  James Yoder, Avista Utilities, has informed us that a project using 50-foot tall wooden poles to support a 600 amp line will be installed along the county right-of-way on Kitzmiller Road.  This will far exceed the current and future residential needs and is intended at an undetermined future date to provide power to outages elsewhere in the system.   

Underground power lines have served this area for the last 40 years.  It is our understanding that underground power was preferred and insisted upon by the customers on this road prior to it's installation and for good reason. These earlier and the present residents know that overhead lines pose an increase in safety and reliability risk.  

At the time of purchase we expected that the appearance of this area would be maintained.  We are fearful that overhead lines will affect our property values.  The underground system has benefited this area very well through the years resulting in few power interruptions.  The overhead lines will be more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions resulting in more interruptions.  Most of the poles will be located along a road that is not maintained during the winter and impassable at any time of the year when wet resulting in delayed repair times.  We understand that the greater cost of underground lines is recouped after several years because of the additional cost to maintain the overhead lines.  

The portion of Kitzmiller Road which runs east and west has some of the most picturesque vistas in Whitman County with a panorama encompassing Kamiak Butte, McCroskey Park, and Moscow Mountain.  This view shed should be considered as an irreplaceable, non-renewable natural resource to be preserved for the future. This project, which uses a more robust, industrial grade support system to carry the higher amperage, will have an even greater visual impact than standard residential poles.  It is also intrusive and inappropriate to have a commercial grade system coming through a residential neighborhood that is zoned as such and will always be a residential neighborhood.

For these reasons, we respectfully request that Avista reconsider the plans for this project.  Our suggestions are:

1) To put the lines underground as they have been in the past.  Provide temporary construction power to new residents through the existing underground line.  Proide an additional 200A underground line for new cluster residential neighborhoods West of Wexler Rd from Whelen Rd or SR27 power lines.  Continue to use the existing underground line for current customers.  

Route the 600A overhead line from Airport to SR27 along the Pullman north boundary or along existing Pullman roads, which is out of the Kitzmiller Road Residential north and east view shed.  There is DOT and WSU land (non-residential) adjacent to the city of Pullman north boundary.  This line would be shorter and less expensive.  

2) To reroute the overhead line from Orville Boyd Road, along Wexler Road, and down to Whelan Road and continuing through a commercial area where the poles would be below the line of sight.  Route underground feeds to the Kitzmiller road customers west of Wexler.


We understand that there are increased costs with these options.  As your customers, we know that this cost will be passed onto us and we are willing to accept that burden to preserve this beautiful place.  It is our hope that Avista Utilities takes a more measured and sensitive approach and does what is best for the environment and this community.

 



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