Substation angers some, satisfies others

Sierra Pacific Power Co. managed to make Storey County residents happy and outrage Lyon County residents with its plans for a new substation.

Laura Kekule of Mark Twain in Storey County was satisfied, but Helaine Jesse of Stagecoach was furious.

"They want to limit the impact on Storey County, but it's just one mile from Lyon," she said. "Why don't they put it on that new highway (USA Parkway)?"

Kekule was undaunted. "We still take the burden for the other counties that have overdeveloped," she said.

Residents of both Mark Twain, which successfully fought the proposed Emma substation near their homes, and Stagecoach, which is closest to the new Blackhawk station, met with Sierra Pacific officials at an open house meeting at the Mark Twain Fire Station on Sam Clemens Drive on Thursday. There they carefully looked at maps on where the proposed Blackhawk substation would be located and where the power lines will go.

Mark Sullivan, a consultant for Sierra Pacific, said the proposed location is the same one Storey County officials last fall showed to leaders of the Mark Twain community group that was opposed to the first location choice off Territory Road.

The utility was turned down by the Storey County Commission in August 2007, largely because of that opposition.

The utility then chose the Blackhawk site, about three miles from the previous one. Sullivan said the site is about 13Ú4 to 2 miles from Iron Mountain Road, he said, and added there was a mountain between residences and the substation, so most won't see it.

The substation will connect with the Tracy Power Plant in north Storey County via a 345,000 volt line. Dual 120,000 volt lines will fold into another 120,000 volt that stretches from Tracy to the Brunswick substation in Carson City. He said connecting the lines would stabilize the flow of electricity to Carson City, Lyon County and Storey County.

Eloise Albright, also of Stagecoach, owns three 20-acre parcels, one 17-acre parcel and one 3-acre parcel near the proposed Blackhawk substation. She had hoped development or sale of those properties could finance her eventual retirement.

"Now we're going to have a view of those big ugly towers," she said. "I understand they need power, but there is so much vacant land out there."

Bobby Kittle of Mark Twain in Storey County said residents should not be able to see it, but understood those who didn't trust the utility.

"It's supposed to be seven miles from Iron Mountain," he said. "It should be all covered by mountains. You shouldn't be able to see it at all. It's what they're going to do in the future that has everyone worried."

Kathy Lamb, also a Storey County resident, said she didn't care where it went, just so they build it, pointing out that there was more involved than just a substation and a view.

She said she had heard that Wal-Mart and Home Depot already bought property in the area on the Lyon County side, but without power, they wouldn't be built. She also connected Dayton's drive for incorporation with the substation.

"In order to get more retail, we have to increase the power," she said. "If Dayton wants to incorporate, they have to have more retail. With retail will come residential, so they can get the tax base to incorporate."

The Storey County Planing Commission will consider a special use permit for the substation at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mark Twain Fire Station, 500 Sam Clemens Ave. in Dayton. Call 847-0966.

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