by Lisa Crockett
After years of negotiations involving Castle Pines North (CPN), Xcel Energy and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), plans are now complete for the final expansion of the power lines that travel diagonally through the eastern part of CPN.
Continued efforts by CPN Master Association Vice President, Bruce Thompson, and Charter Oaks residents Kurt and Kimberly Steenhoek have minimized the impact of noise pollution and EMF - electric and magnetic fields to residents of CPN and surrounding communities.
The expansion of these transmission lines, which provide power to the Denver Metro and Castle Rock areas, will more than triple capacity from the substation to the north of Daniel’s Gate on the east side of Monarch Boulevard. In addition, the middle set of poles in the CPN power line corridor will be replaced with larger poles, similar to the largest set of poles that were installed two years ago.
In 2003, an application was made to the PUC to increase capacity on the transmission lines running through CPN. Dozens of CPN residents and others from neighboring communities asked the Douglas County Planning Commission to request that the upgraded lines be buried, but the request was denied. The CPN Master Association hired legal counsel to represent the community to the PUC.
After the objections of the community were heard, the PUC granted Xcel’s request for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.” Xcel then went to the Colorado State Legislature to request a much higher noise limit, which was also a concern to CPN residents. Rather than grant Xcel’s request, the legislature referred the matter back to the PUC to establish acceptable noise standards.
For months, Thompson and Steenhoek worked to get noise pollution concerns heard and addressed. Xcel was finally granted a modest increase – from 50 dB (decibels) to 55 dB, rather than the higher limit they had originally requested.
“Some people may notice an increase in noise on wet, foggy days,” said Thompson. “Fortunately, we don’t have too many days like that here in Colorado. If the higher limits had been approved, the increase in noise to adjacent homes would have been substantial.”
According to Xcel Energy spokesperson Mark Stutz, the upgrade of the middle set of poles in the power line transmission corridor, and the upgrade to the Daniel’s Park Substation, are slated to begin in summer 2007.
“We feel strongly that this is a win for the community,” said Thompson.
Special thanks to everyone in the community who donated time and effort toward the Xcel power line expansion project during the past three years.