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County grants IID right-of-way for power lines

February 27, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors granted the Imperial Irrigation District a contested right-of-way for power lines and approved a 10-year land lease for a public safety-training facility at its meeting Tuesday.

IID asked to locate the power lines south of Brawley, partially on county property at the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center, despite opposition from the research center's committee.

Committee member John Grizzle addressed the board, saying there are multiple reasons IID's proposed route would not be good for the center.

The route proposed by IID will reduce the center's farm plots, palm trees at the research center would have to be removed and rentals will be affected, Grizzle said.


The committee came up with an alternate route for the power line that would have less of an impact on the research center and would cost $100,000 less than IID's proposed route, he said.

The only negative effect the alternate route would have is it would be more visible to nearby homeowners, Grizzle said.

A letter from IID President Stella Mendoza stated the power line is necessary because new home development and a new addition to Pioneers Memorial Hospital will increase demand for electricity. The

higher demand requires additional power lines to the Panno substation.

The city of Brawley asked the district not to put the power lines right in front of the houses, district supervisor Jim Kelley said at the meeting.

IID is offering to relocate the palm trees but some of the trees are too big and too old to be moved.

"We are willing to move those that can be moved and willing to replace the ones that can't be moved," Kelley said.

The supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of the district's proposed route. Board chairman Hank Kuiper was not present. He had to leave the meeting early to go to a conference.

Also Tuesday, the board approved a 10-year lease for a public safety-training facility south of Imperial Valley College. The college received a $130,000 grant to develop the training center.

Imperial County Fire Chief Joe Buzo said the facility would include a shooting range, a fire-training tower, class rooms and other emergency and rescue training for fire, medical and law enforcement.

The grant states construction at the site needs to begin April 1.

The land used to be a dump site in the 1950s, county Planning Director Jurg Heuberger said.

Tim Jones, director of county public works, said he was concerned about the cost to the county of preparing the site for development. The grant money only pays for building construction.

He said he is limited in how much waste he can take in one day.

"It puts us in a real dilemma to start this thing with a shoe-string budget and a lot of unanswered questions. But I like the concept," Supervisor Gary Wyatt said.

The board approved the lease 4-0.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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