Summit County citizens form group against Xcel |

Summit County citizens form group against Xcel

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY ” County residents frustrated by Xcel Energy’s failure to engage in conversations about proposed substation sites recently joined together as the Lower Blue River Citizens Alliance (LBRCA).

Members of LBRCA include residents and property owners located in Angler Mountain Ranch, Blue River Valley Ranch, Daley Ranch, Hamilton Creek, High Country Tracts, Ptarmigan Subdivision, Sage Creek and South Forty.

“In our view, it (a substation) is not appropriate on private land or where it impacts neighborhoods, property values, the environment or views,” said the alliance website.

Xcel Energy held an open house on Feb. 10 to introduce three possible sites on private land for a substation to serve the Silverthorne area ” two located on the Daley Ranch and one located on the TYL Ranch.

One of the two Daley Ranch sites ” a location on Ptarmigan Mountain east of Silverthorne ” scored higher in the utility’s ratings than two other finalists ” the historic TYL Ranch north of town and a second location on the Daley Ranch farther south of the preferred “Site 10,” Xcel representatives indicated.

According to C.J. Julin of the Daley Ranch and Equilibrium Resorts, a substation plan for a site on the Daley Ranch (formerly the Heitt Ranch) was denied in 1999 because it didn’t fit in with the Lower Blue Master Plan.

“Essentially they’re applying for an area that’s already been denied,” Julin said. ” … The Lower Blue Citizens Alliance wants some meaningful dialogue with Xcel. We want a real understanding of what sites are available and how the selection process moves forward. They (Xcel) weren’t forthcoming in their decision-making process.”

The substation doesn’t belong on any of the three proposed sites due to extreme degradation of views and land, Julin added. All three sites can be plainly viewed by numerous housing developments throughout Silverthorne and from Interstate 70.

The Alliance is also concerned about Xcel’s supposed lack of fire mitigation research.

Xcel Energy has been looking for a potential substation site for more than a decade because of growth in the Silverthorne area of 3 to 4 percent per year.

The utility wants to have the plant operating by the fall of 2011 and would need to begin construction in the spring of 2010.

“Ten years ago, they (Xcel) said they had to get something going in two years because they were running out of power,” said Chuck Arnold of Oxbow Ranch, indicating a concern that Xcel Energy’s decisions are self-serving.

The LBRCA wants an extended public process before an application is submitted for a specific site.

“There isn’t anybody saying we don’t need a substation, but the correct land needs to be chosen,” Julin commented. “Taking private land is not the right decision. Land values and views are the hallmark of Summit County.”

The utility has identified 21 possible sites in the county for Silverthorne’s substation but hasn’t settled on any ” or ruled any out yet, either.

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