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Research center seeking support in opposing placement of IID power lines

February 17, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — There's some disagreement over where power lines slated for installation by the Imperial Irrigation District will cross the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center on the south side of town.

"We have to convince the Board of Supervisors … that this is not in the best interest of the county as landowners or us as lessees," said Dick Kershaw, power line committee member at the research center.

Kershaw said the committee is seeking support from the Brawley City Council and Brawley Chamber of Commerce in opposing the new line. He said the alignment will make the entrance to the city less attractive, especially with the loss of certain palm trees.

"It'll just make the whole thing wrong for the gateway to Brawley," Kershaw said. "In all honesty, somebody's going to be unhappy wherever they put this."

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Brawley Mayor Toni Carrillo said the City Council has not made a decision on where it stands on the issue. She said the council will likely discuss it at Tuesday's meeting.

Brad Luckey, IID executive officer, said the 90-kilovolt line is needed to ensure continued reliable service to the Ventana Ranch subdivision and for Pioneers Memorial Hospital.

Luckey said IID has volunteered to plant new trees away from the power line to mitigate the loss of 26 palm trees.

The new line will connect the city's Rockwood substation with the Panno substation in the northwest corner of the homes in the area.

Luckey said once completed, the research center will look better than it does today. Further, he said only one pole will actually affect the research center, and the pole can be moved to avoid certain drainage tile lines. He said the alignment is the preferred alternative identified in an environmental impact report.

In a Dec. 31, 2001, letter to IID signed by research center committee chairman John Grizzle, he argues the alignment could cost the center as much as $100,000, depending on how the tile lines are affected. The letter also argues the potential for attracting tenants to the research center will be affected.

In a Jan. 10 response signed by IID board President Stella Mendoza, she writes that the district understands the concerns over the new line.

"We regret any inconvenience this might place on individuals or businesses but all alternatives have been considered and the southern route is the best placement of this new power line," the letter says.

Because the land is owned by the county, the Board of Supervisors will make the final decision.

Luckey said Feb. 26, the Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve an easement/right of way to install the power poles.

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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