Chandler residents concerned about new power lines

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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Salt River Project is just one step away from building above-ground high-voltage power lines through a south Chandler neighborhood, but families near Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road say they are going to fight to have them built below ground.

The lines will bring more power to the high-tech hub at the Price Road corridor where Intel and Orbital Sciences are located.

Those opposed to the above-ground power lines have already gathered 400 signatures on a petition through the Chandler Communities United Facebook page. They hope to gather at least 150,000 signatures before the next hearing in 30 to 60 days.

Laine Schoneberger lives across from the railroad tracks where the high-voltage lines are planned, and said there is concern about how the lines will affect property values. He says, "The people in these neighborhoods their home is their biggest investment and you put these power lines up and that value just went down completely and it's not fair."

But SRP said the lines are essential for Chandler to be able to lure more large companies to the Price Road corridor and bring more jobs to the Valley.

"There are very little impacts that we noticed over the years with respect to above ground transmission lines, said Scott Harelson with SRP. "Whole communities have grown up around our existing 230kv, 500kv transmission lines...no problems."

SRP said it's too expensive to put the lines below ground. It will cost $3 million to build the lines above ground and $30 million to put them below ground, according to SRP. The utility said it would not be fair to the other SRP customers to spend that much. Schoneberger said the project would not cost that much. He said the companies themselves should pick up the tab to go underground, and that it's not fair to put the burden on them.

"The idea that they are willing to put these power lines above ground at our expense we're the ones that have to live that sky acne, this horrible thing we have to look at, see, hear, the health and safety concerns," Schoneberger said.

There is a community meeting about the power lines scheduled for April 14 at 6:45 p.m. at Fulton Elementary School in Chandler.

Online: Siting Committee Recommends New Power Line

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