High voltage JEA power lines coming to a view near YOU
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JEA has proposed high voltage lines placed along the current railroad tracks that anchor the East side of Bartram Springs. They plan to remove trees that are currently providing a sound barrier. So in addition to increased train noise, a nice "hum" will be heard throughout the neighborhood. As well as not being visualy appealing, high powered lines create a whole host of problems. Please join us in requesting the lines be rerouted to a less populated area.
As posted by Jay King, Bartram Springs Resident, February 8th, 2019:
"So at 5:45 yesterday I just happened to notice an email from JEA from 3:30 about a public meeting last night from 6-7:30 at the elementary school about a “electric reliability project”. It sounded like a positive thing. Who does not want more reliable power? I clicked on the link provided jea.com/us1. However I grew concerned when it showed that they were planning to send power lines down US 1 between US 1 and the rail tracks and then back along Racetrack Rd in front of the community. The video shows them above the existing tree line with the mature trees still in place, but I suspected that was not the case. I headed to the meeting for the 30 mins I could spare between it and getting the kids to their activities. I apparently was one of only a few to make the meeting (they had expected several hundred) so I had the dozen plus JEA employees to myself as I expressed my various concerns and alternate solutions before our City Council Representative arrived (Danny Becton, http://www.dannybecton.org/ I have found him to be a strong advocate for his constituents in the past. He shares concerns about the project and had been working on at least some visual mitigation along US 1 with JEA before last night. So my key concerns based on my interactions with the JEA staff are:
1. I do not think the public is really aware of the impacts and this meeting was not well advertised and comes awfully late in the planning as they are scheduling tree removal for March/April of 2019 following surveying.
2. JEA’s efforts seem more about marketing to placate concerns then about any kind of sincere consultation with the neighborhood (Public notice late in the process, misleading video, emphasis on reliability when it really just seams to be about getting power for growth to the south of us, evolving answers to my questions, etc.). They did say they would consider taking down the video and acknowledged they had just put it together a few days ago without as much thought as perhaps they should have.
3. The high voltage towers proposed that will border our community the entire length of our East and South sides I am afraid will be particularly impactful to homeowners on streets such as Silver Glen, Green Myrtle, Silver Tip, Courtney Crest, Big Springs and White Tip. JEA acknowledged that they would be visible from those homes as they look to the East. They made the argument that the RR was already there but I explained that it was not seen and seldom heard, but the high voltage lines would always be seen and likely the buzzing always heard. I also stressed that people bought the view they had at the time and nobody was aware that high voltage lines could go up. The potential impact on property values will extend beyond those streets based on comps. 4. The clearing of the trees all along US 1 will fully open up the RR to view and I suspect will increase the traffic sounds along US 1 as the natural buffer will be reduced with the loss of those trees and vegetation. Councilman Becton was looking to have them rework plans he had asked for to create a natural buffer with robust hedging so at least at car level the view of the RR would be minimized. He felt what they were proposing was not adequate. Think about the area near US1 and Old St Augustine Rd around Bayard where those trees have been removed to get a sense of what it will look like. 5. As I explored alternatives with the JEA staff and I got evolving answers: a. Why couldn’t they underground the lines? Wouldn’t that be a lot more reliable in a hurricane then lines exposed to winds? Too expensive by a factor of 7 times (from $14,000,000 to $100,000,000. But I got various answers from different staff members on the details around it, some conflicting. New developments are already required to do this within their communities and have for some time. These lines are obviously different in that they are much bigger, but obviously there is a way to do it where there is sufficient will. b. Why Not run it down the 9B and I95 corridor? That was their preference but FDOT would not support it. c. Why can’t they run it along the current route (well North of our area and then down Bartram Blvd)? At first, I was told that it would not fit even though I pointed out the width of the current routing clearing is significantly wider then what they are proposing. The subsequent response was that they were limited by other utilities already along that route and then later yet I was told they were going to put new lines like the ones proposed but first need to run ours so they could take down replace the others. Do they always have duplicate routes for all their transmission lines? Do they never replace existing lines with new ones in the same corridor? If placed on the other side of US1 would that mean the transmission lines would not be visible to homes in our neighborhood? I had to leave before I thought of those questions and had a chance to ask but I am pretty confident of the answers. So what can/should be done? Obviously power needs to be routed as growth is and will occur, but I am not convinced based on my engagement with JEA staff last night that this reflects the best solution. Certainly not for Bartram Springs. I think if there is public interest it can have an impact (as it has shown us with community interests in the past such as with the new fire station, electronic signage along US1, education matters, etc.). So please share with your neighbors and encourage them to call/email and do their own research and reach their own conclusion. It will only improve understanding and optimize the outcome. The more that call with their questions and concerns the more interest there is to work with us. But time seems limited. Points of contact: Danny Becton (Our City Council Rep), Great advocate for us: 904-630-1383, firstname.lastname@example.org Lenny Curry (Our Mayor), he is up for reelection and he appointed the JEA Board of Directors and the city "owns" JEA: 904-630-1776, MayorLennyCurry@coj.net Jason Fischer (Our State Rep), I never found him very helpful or particularly engaged in the past as our DCPS Board Rep or in his current role as a State Rep, but perhaps he could be helpful with FDOT. In any event it is probably helpful that we remind him that we are here from time to time: https://www.jasonforflorida.com/ Jordan Pope (JEA Dir of Government Relations), He seemed the most open to resident concerns and obviously has a role in keeping our elected reps happy: 904-631-2188, email@example.com JEA Project Outreach, this is just a generic contact: 904-665-7500, firstname.lastname@example.org"
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