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Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 8 8. Use Permit and Minor Community Plan Amendment; APN: 407-17-037N and 407-13- 015B; H#7199 and H#8012. THESE MINUTES CONTAIN PUBLIC COMMENT Applicant: Arizona Public Service (APS) Agent: Steve Deming Request: Consideration of a Use Permit and a Minor Community Plan Amendment to allow for the construction of an electrical substation on an approximately 2.56 acre site in a conditionally zoned C1-18 (Commercial; Neighborhood Sales and Services; 18,000 sq. ft. minimum) zoning district. Located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Cornville Road and Page Springs Road on the west side of Angel Crest Drive in the community of Cornville. Located in SEC10 & 3 TWN15N R05E Tammy DeWitt, Planner made the staff presentation noting that the site would not be 2‟ below grade level as was stated in the staff brief and as such the equipment would be 4‟ higher than the 10‟ block wall. She also noted that additional letters of opposition had been received subsequent to the preparation of the Commission packets. Ms. DeWitt concluded her presentation by stating that there were two (2) stipulations being offered should the Commission choose to recommend approval. Chairman Garner opened the discussion to the Commission. Commissioner Lindner referenced the substation configuration and requested clarification regarding potential upgrading of the power lines. Ms. DeWitt deferred that question to the applicant. Commissioner Kerkman asked if the opposition had brought in any substantive documentation regarding their statements of decreased property values. Ms. DeWitt responded negatively. There being no further questions of staff, Chairman Garner asked the applicant/agent to address the Commission. Steve Deming, agent stated that he was the APS substation construction engineer. He addressed the petition concerns as follows: 1) health hazard from electro-magnetic fields (emfs) - emfs were exponentially reduced by distance and there was no substantiating data confirming emfs as a health hazard; 2) lower real estate values – there was no documentation of lower property values in areas where substations existed; 3) scarring rural landscape – the property was currently vacant and had been used for community trash clean-ups and that they had been working with the Community Association and would provide appropriate screening. Mr. Deming addressed Commissioner Lindner‟s question as follows: overhead lines – the existing 12kv line had been built to 69kv requirements, so that would not change, that there would be an additional line dropped by poles into the substation however they would be removing several poles/regulators from the site and surrounding area. Commissioner Kerkman asked the applicant to elaborate on the load/reserve percentages mentioned in the staff brief. Mr. Deming deferred that question to Wayne Ferguson. Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 9 Wayne Ferguson, Verde area APS manager explained the reasons/need for the substation and described the service area/issues. He also explained the reasons for utilizing a centralized location, noting that substations were often located in residential areas. Commissioner Kerkman asked if the service issues were voltage outages or appliance failures. Mr. Ferguson responded that it was mostly appliance failures due to low voltage, but that brown-outs had occurred in certain areas of Cornville. Commissioner Province asked if there would be noise or a hum associated with the substation. Mr. Ferguson replied negatively, noting that there might be a slight humming but that would be buffered by the block wall. Mr. Ferguson demonstrated a milligoss meter which measures electro-magnetic fields and provided data comparing residential (home) use measurements and measurements taken at various locations on a substation site (Quail Springs). He said that there was no conclusive data regarding health hazards from emfs and that there were not any governmental standards. Commissioner Lindner asked in reference to the 69kv line drop to 12kv lines if these were all existing lines or would there be any new line construction. Mr. Ferguson replied that the 69kv line was already in existence although it had only been energized at 12kv and that there would only be one (1) additional span from the existing line to the new substation. He noted that the 12kv lines coming out of the substation would be underground and that they were also burying some existing 12kv lines in the area. Commissioner Lindner asked if the lines were underground would there be less emf exposure. Mr. Ferguson responded that while emf fields lose strength with distance, the exposure is actually greater when the lines were underground since you would be closer to them. Commissioner Lindner mentioned the large power lines across Mingus and near the river and noted that if you were underneath them you could really feel the pulsations. Mr. Ferguson said that was categorized as static electricity, but that was not generally felt at a 69kv line. Commissioner Lindner commented that he had personally had property appraisals affected by overhead 12kv lines but they had not experienced any health problems. Mr. Ferguson noted that it was more of an aesthetic issue to put the lines underground. Commissioner Kerkman asked if as a public utility there was a statutory obligation to provide customers a particular level of service. Mr. Ferguson replied affirmatively, they were required to provide a certain level of voltage (120v) ± 5%. Commissioner Kerkman asked if they would not be able to meet that service level any longer without this facility. Mr. Ferguson responded affirmatively. Commissioner Lindner asked if they had researched alternative locations. Mr. Ferguson described their site location efforts which had started in ‟98-„99. He stated that the current site was preferable since there was no need to build additional 69kv lines and noted that they had been working with the Cornville Community Association from the beginning. Commissioner Lindner asked if there was a possibility to reduce the amount of opposition citing health hazards with additional community outreach. Mr. Ferguson answered that this was an emotional issue, there was no scientific basis for the opposition and he did not believe that would change with further community outreach. There being no further questions of the applicant/agent, Chairman Garner opened the floor to public participation. Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 10 Support: Public Participation forms from members of the public not wishing to speak: Russ Bottjer, a Cornville resident (Casa Colina Court) – “To minimize visual impact to surrounding community, landscaping should be required.” Sharon Morehouse, a Cornville resident (Sundance Lane) – “I want to be sure that the wall is painted and has some relief to blend w/natural landscape.” Steven Morehouse, a Cornville resident (Sundance Lane) – “Would like a few large boulders along wall on Cornville Road.” Judy Miller, Cornville Community Association President – “The Community Association has done what they could to inform the community and obtain input. The substation will bring better service to us residents of Oak Creek Valley, where service is intermittent and adversely affects our water & sewer system.” Jan Tomlinson, Cornville Community Association member and Planning and Zoning Committee member explained the community outreach efforts made by the Association for the past eighteen (18) months. She said that she personally had experienced power outages at her residence. Ms. Tomlinson expressed her support of the application and said that she believed this was the safest and best location. George Dana, Cornville Community Association Vice-President and Planning and Zoning Committee Chair expressed the Association‟s support of the application. He detailed the dates (starting in 2006 and continuing into 2008), advertising and website postings (agendas/minutes) for the meetings at which this application had been discussed, explained the reasons for the Association‟s support of the proposed location, and described the community needs/benefits (additional power, lower traffic) as related to the proposed substation. Commissioner Kerkman asked how many people the Association represented. Mr. Dana responded that the Association currently had 192 members, but that he did not know the exact number of Cornville residents. Commissioner Lindner asked if the Association voted on agenda items and were members of the public allowed to vote on the issues. Mr. Dana explained the Association‟s meeting/voting procedures. Harold Sweet, a Cornville resident (Cochise Way) described his personal experiences with substations noting that he had not had any adverse health effects. He stated that he was a member of the Cornville Community Association and was also on the Planning and Zoning Committee. Mr. Sweet expressed his reasons for support, citing the community‟s need for the substation and emphasizing that this was not a power plant, it was simply a substation and as such he believed the health hazards were minimal. Opposition: Public Participation forms from members of the public not wishing to speak: Dennis Foxworthy, a Cornville resident (Oakrun Lane) – “This area is not the place for any type of large or medium commercial projects. The health concerns are enormous plus the loss of property values.” Anne Coleman, a Cornville resident (Ridge Road) – opposed Don Burns, a Cornville resident (Old Pumphouse Road/Lizard Lane) – opposed Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 11 Albert Kramer, a Cornville resident (Southern Drive) – “Totally unacceptable within Cornville town limits – environment and health hazard.” John Schreiber, a Cornville resident (Angel Crest Drive) – opposed Allison Davis, a Cottonwood resident (Arrow Drive) – “No – No – No!!” Leslie Behnke, a Cornville resident (Alvey Lane) – “I am very worried about the health issues & property values!” Julie Crawford, a Cornville resident (Ridge Road) – “No APS substation or high power towers – change location so it‟s not in the center of our town.” Laura Beardon, a Cornville resident (Ridge Road) – “Please don‟t allow APS substation in Cornville center.” Delores Engel, a Cornville resident (Ridge Road) – “No APS substation in our town.” Toril Elen Roenneklen, a Cornville resident (El Rancho Bonito Road) – “Please don‟t put this thing in Cornville, in the middle of a residential area. There is plenty of open space in Arizona – AWAY from people. It is also a health hazard! We have so much SUN in AZ – go solar and use wind power.” Shirley Roberts, a Cornville resident – “I am highly opposed to this substation in Cornville.” Charlene Huddleston, a Cornville resident (Clover Lane) – “I do Not want a substation in Cornville. It is harmful and lowers property value.” Esther Kramer, a Cornville resident (Southern Drive) – “This should not be in the middle of town. Hurting our Town – Family – Life.” Charles Allen, a Cornville resident (Eden Way) – “Concerned for people in community and their safety.” Doris Grinsfelder, a Cornville resident (Sugarloaf Road) – “Please do not put a substation in Cornville. I am greatly opposed to this.” Lin David Martin, a Cornville resident (El Rancho Bonito Road) – “Cornville is not the place for a power plant. Such a health hazard should be placed FAR AWAY from people and important nature resources. If the option of going “green” is not yet available – place this far away from any residential areas! We would happily pay a little more for solar and wind power.” Cathryn Tezha Swann, a Cornville resident (Ward Lane) – “Please put this thing (power plant) out in the country AWAY from our homes. This is a health hazard. And Ugly, too. GO SOLAR, USE WIND POWER. We have lots of sun in Arizona!!” Tim Pye, a Cornville resident (Ward Lane) – “Please do not locate a power plant in the center of our town. Besides being an eyesore, these plants are harmful to health. Choose a more remote location. CHOOSE SOLAR AND WIND POWER. AZ is very sunny. We don‟t need that power plant when we have an abundance of free energy sources already available.” J. Launa Leist, a Cornville resident (Loy Lane) – “This is a health hazard to community. People who live near high power electric lines are exposed to health issues. Studies show detrimental effects on health. High power electric lines need to be in remote areas with no animals or humans.” 235 Farm Circle – opposed Pam Kelly, a Cornville resident (Southern Drive) – opposed Vicki and Jerry Clem, Cornville residents (Cornville Road) – “Want more info before work starts.” Mountain Vu RV Park (Cornville Road) – “More info!” Cornville Storage (Western Drive) – “More info!” Dave Freeman, a Camp Verde resident stated that he had proxy letters and was representing three (3) persons, two (2) of which had properties that were adjacent to the subject property, all of whom were opposed to the application. Mr. Freeman noted that the properties were currently vacant but were intended as retirement properties, that the owners had not received a notice of this hearing and that he often drove past the subject Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 12 property and had never seen a posting notice. He expressed the opinion that this was not the best and highest use of the land, the subject property would be ideal for a small commercial business and as such the existing zoning would allow for the best/highest use. Mr. Freeman cited this as being a Proposition 207 issue and cited property value concerns due to the effect of real or perceived health issues. Cindy Walker, a Camp Verde resident said that she was the wife of the previous speaker and was also speaking on behalf of the three (3) persons for which they had proxy letters. She expressed her concerns regarding the emf issue (health hazard), referenced EPA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences studies and suggested that it would be prudent for the Commission to err on the side of caution. Ms. Walker also expressed her concerns regarding the substation location and the hazardous materials used as part of the substation equipment such as dielectric fluid, lead-acid batteries, and sulphur-hexachloride gas. Leon Gilpin, a Cornville resident (Ridge Road) described his personal experiences with the hazardous materials utilized in substations and expressed his concerns regarding public safety and the proposed location. Sharon Day, a Cornville resident (Southern Drive) expressed her concerns regarding the health hazards and the location. Susan O‟Farrill, a Cornville resident (Ole Paint Way) said that she had previously been a part of the anti-69kv line involvement. She expressed concerns regarding the health hazards, noting that she was not opposed to the substation itself but was opposed to the proposed location. Barbara Spude, a Cornville resident (Alvey Lane) expressed her concerns regarding the health hazards specifically the loss of personal choice as pertains to emf exposure, the proposed location, the adverse effect on the rural character of the area and the possibility that the Page Springs Road historical road designation would be put at risk. She asked that the Commission deny this request. Nita Rinehart, a Cornville resident (Loy Street) expressed her concerns regarding the health risks, the financial threat (lower property values), identity theft (as pertained to the Cornville community rural character), and the lack of community notification referencing her petition efforts (garnered over 300 signatures). Ms. Rinehart requested a deferral to allow for additional community participation and presented an alternative plan proposal to the Commission. There being no further public comment, the floor was closed to public participation and returned to the Commission for further discussion and/or a motion. Steve Deming, agent addressed the speakers‟ concerns regarding: 1) hazardous materials/waste – noted that dielectric fluid, the mineral oil surrounding a transformer, was classified as hazardous material and secondary oil containment measures would be provided, that the (lead-acid) battery back-ups used presented a minor explosion risk that would be contained within the building, and that he was not aware of any other hazardous materials utilized in a substation; 2) the risk to transformers from projectiles - described the site plan in regards to transformer locations noting there would only be two (2) transformers on site; 3) the concerns regarding lower property values in reference to the 12kv lines - noted that there would be no overhead lines at the substation and as such the substation should not impact property values, particularly since this was not a power station; 4) the location concerns in regards to emf amounts – reiterated that distance dissipated emf amounts, and 5) safety issues – noted that the site would be Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 13 surrounded by a 10‟ block wall. He stated that there would be no lighting, that the landscape plan should address any visual concerns (agreed with the suggestion to use boulders along the wall), and concluded by noting that this was not a high voltage (115kv and above) site. Commissioner Kerkman referenced the opposition‟s location concerns and asked how thorough their search was for a site. Mr. Deming explained/described the site search efforts and the decision process regarding adding more 69kv lines versus building the substation. Commissioner Lindner asked if this substation would address the future growth of the area. Mr. Ferguson explained their previous efforts, noting that they had been unable to find an appropriate site at that time. He explained the reasons for the current site choice and described the proposed project noting that any expansion would be minor. Commissioner Kerkman asked if no other viable options were identifiable. Mr. Ferguson replied affirmatively. Chairman Garner referred to a statement by one of the opposition speakers in regards to the proposed Bella Montana project being served by this substation. Mr. Ferguson stated that this substation would serve the Cornville/Page Springs area only and would not supply any other areas. Commissioner Jackson commented in reference to the health hazard and lower property value concerns that he did not believe those were viable concerns (related personal experiences with high power lines/substation and with subdivision property values) and in reference to scarring the rural landscape he believed that was also not a viable concern as substations tended to blend in and become mostly part of the scenery. Action #3: Commissioner Jackson made a motion to recommend approval of hearing applications H#7199 and H#8012, Use Permit and Minor Community Plan Amendment subject to the stipulations shown on the overhead as follows: 1. Minor Community Plan Amendment and Use Permit shall be granted on a permanent basis for an electrical substation with a ten (10) foot stucco wall and shall be in conformance with the site plan dated December 3, 2007, and with all applicable county, state, and federal codes and ordinances. 2. In the event the owner of the subject property files a claim under ARS Section 12- 1134 regarding this Use Permit and Minor Community Plan Amendment, this Use Permit and Minor Community Plan Amendment shall be null and void. Commissioner Kerkman seconded the motion. Commissioner Kerkman requested clarification for the benefit of the members of the audience of the posting/notice requirements. Ms. DeWitt explained the statutory requirements and described how staff complied with those requirements. Commissioner Stewart commented that he was in support of the application, related a personal experience with APS in the Kirkland area and expressed the opinion that if a problem arose, APS would listen and respond. Commissioner Lindner expressed his concerns with the amount of opposition and requested that staff stay on top of the opposition within the 300‟ for an accurate accounting if the Commission were to forward a positive recommendation to the Board of Minutes – Verde February 20, 2008 Page 14 Supervisors. He said he was generally in support of moving forward and suggested that the Cornville Community Association work on their community outreach efforts. Chairman Garner commented on public participation efforts, County recognition of community groups, participation of members of the public as concerned citizens and support of community associations by members of the community. Commissioner Kerkman commented regarding public participation that the Commission tried to recognize that it was a matter of balance between the number of individual community members that were in attendance in opposition and the number of community members represented by the Community Association that were in support. Chairman Garner recused himself from voting. Voting ensued. The motion carried unanimously. This item will be heard by the Board of Supervisors on March 17, 2008.
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