Appeal of the Planning Commission's denial of a request to allow construction of a major utility (electrical) transmission line and an upgrade to a portion of an existing transmission line for approximately six miles in length, originating at the Henderson City Limits north of Weston Hills and terminating at the Equestrian Substation, in the Pittman, Calico Ridge, Foothills, and River Mountain Planning Areas.

Stephanie Garcia Vause, Director of Community Development, stated that the Planning Commission recommended denial of this proposal due to concerns that the structure is too large and obtrusive, quality of life for residents would be impacted, and it is not in compliance with the findings of fact.  

Mayor Hafen abstained from voting on this item because his daughter and son-in-law live in Westin Hills and signed a petition in opposition of this proposal.  He passed the gavel to Mayor Pro Tem Schroder.

Mayor Pro Tem Schroder opened the public hearing at  7:19 p.m., asking if there was anyone present wishing to speak for or against this item.

Dave Rigden, NV Energy, representing the applicant, thanked the residents for attending the open houses and participating in this process.  He explained that the project entails upgrading the existing transmission lines with 230kV circuits and replacing wooden poles with steel poles.  He noted that NV Energy received a special use permit from the City in 1999 for this exact project.  NV Energy began the environmental effort in 2005 with respect to the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management.  He stated that open house meetings with impacted residents were held between 2006 and 2008.  Mr. Rigden stated that, per the Planning Commission, NV Energy investigated alternative routes and presented those routes to residents residing in Tuscany and Section 4.  He noted that the proposed route uses existing right-of-ways, has the fewest impacts to the community as a whole, and is the lowest cost option for rate payers.

Mr. Rigden stated that NV Energy is mandated by law to forecast needs to accommodate future growth.  He said the existing high-voltage overhead transmission line was built in the 1930s and needs to be brought up to Code regardless whether the new lines are approved.  He stated that this project is designed to increase the overall reliability of the system, transmission capacity, and to protect against future outage contingencies.  

Mr. Rigden stated that the concerns expressed by the residents include compatibility to adjacent uses, diminution of property values, and significant adverse impacts to the natural environment.   He displayed several photographs depicting existing Quad Circuit 230kV structures, like those proposed, throughout the Las Vegas valley adjacent to all types of land uses including large-lot
single-family homes.  

Regarding concerns of electric magnetic fields (EMF) exposure, noise, and pole height, Mr. Rigden reported that NV Energy has never received a noise complaint from the City.  He said the project is designed around the National Electric Safety Code, which has height requirements.  Mr. Rigden stated that the proposed lines will have substantially lower EMFs due to the higher distance of the poles from the ground.

Councilman Kirk commented that development in this area has changed significantly since NV Energy received approval in 1999.  

Mr. Rigden replied that NV Energy placed a requirement on the developer, Rhodes Homes, to notify homebuyers about this potential upgrade project.  He said to help mitigate the effects of the proposal, NV Energy has agreed to work with the impacted private property owners on final transmission line pole locations.  Mr. Rigden noted that another condition they agreed to is prior to applying for a building permit for any structure located between Magic Way and Cadiz Street, NV Energy shall consult with the Public Works Department regarding clearance standards for existing and future infrastructure.  He said if by mutual written agreement it is determined that the structures can be reduced in height and still meet all safety and operational standards, NV Energy shall reduce the structure height accordingly.  

Regarding construction impacts, Mr. Rigden stated that NV Energy has a practice of replacing any disturbed property to equal or better condition prior to construction activity.  He said the applicant would also agree to practical hours of operation.  

John Kiehlbauch, representing Timothy Morse and Associates, stated that he is a licensed certified appraiser and prepared a study for NV Energy on the impact of high-voltage transmission lines on adjacent residential land values in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. He researched materials in trade journals, interviewed local homebuilders, and interviewed sales agents in subdivisions actively selling homes adjacent to high-voltage transmission lines.  Mr. Kiehlbauch submitted into the record an article from Appraisal Journal indicating no evidence of systematic effects  of either proximity or visibility of 345 kV transmission lines on residential real estate values in four study areas examined.

Timothy Morse, 3140 Rainbow Boulevard, Suite 402, Las Vegas, commented that the residential market for homes has declined 40 to 60 percent due to the severe economic conditions throughout the Las Vegas valley.  He stated that they study they prepared for NV Energy focused on the residential master-planned community Providence, which has new residences located along an existing major power transmission corridor.  He said interviews with the sales agents of ten active subdivisions located adjacent to these lines indicated no difference in the sale prices of homes contiguous to the power line to homes off of the line.  Mr. Morse reported that based on this study, he concluded that construction of the overhead power transmission line will not significantly damage or reduce the value of the residences within the Tuscany and Section 4  communities.

Responding to a question by Councilwoman March regarding whether the report completed by Timothy Morse and Associates can be submitted into the record, Mr. Rigden stated that the full study is part of ongoing litigation and is attorney-client privileged.  He said this report can only be submitted after obtaining approval from their attorneys.  

Councilman Kirk commented that other appraisers could prepare a study that contradicts the information provided by Mr. Kiehlbauch and Mr. Morse.  

Relating to the natural environment, Mr. Rigden stated that NV Energy has been working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management and is committed to compliance with all mitigation measures that are outlined in the draft environmental assessment.  He also noted that staff and planners representing the Clark County Wetlands Park have been involved in the environmental assessment.  

Mr. Rigden reported that NV Energy analyzed twelve different route options, with the cost differentials ranging from $5 million to $19. 5 million.  He noted that the residents preferred the route that goes around all of the neighborhoods, which is estimated to cost $19.5 million. He said every single alternative increases the number of poles, the miles of conductor, the size of poles, and would require additional right of way acquisition.  Mr. Rigden stated that the proposed project would be at its maximum capacity and could not be upgraded with more lines.

In response to a question by Mayor Pro Tem Schroder regarding a construction time frame, Mr. Rigden reported that the original plan projected this need by the year 2011; however, that has been moved to 2015.  Mr. Rigden also explained the process of how the new poles would be installed.

The following is residents did not speak, but filled out speaker cards indicating their opposition to this project:  Lisa Gjonaj, 536 N. Milan Street; Loren Slocum, 532 Via Colmo Avenue; Kerry White, 408 Glasgow Street; Eric Brocker, 1180 Hollow Reed Court; Jerry Lipson, 1058 Via Saint Arden; Sean Macaunus,1054 Via Saint Monica; Norman and Jeffrey Gutin, 1021 Via Dupre; Natividad Uy, 484 Via Stretto Avenue; Norman and Barbara Aures, 1107 Cadiz Avenue; Ernest and Diane Moyes, 704 N. Naples; Jeff and Kathi Colman, 1116 Essex Avenue; Sandra Kuntz, 1127 Geneva Avenue; Judith and Wayne Haines, 723 Fife Street; Yolanda Navarro, 536 Via Colino; Donna Jenkin, 420 N. Magic Way; Byron and Sheryl Irby, 465 Punto Vallata Drive; Mr. and Mrs. Dikes, 473 Via Palermo; Mike Brower, 480 Via Del Foro; Darcy and Holly Zavislak, 519 Via Garofano Avenue; Anuluk Fagan and George Blacker, 448 Via Del Foro; Dana Burnett, 209 Via Franciosa; George Ziur, 407 Jena Street; Helen Wells, 186 S. Orleans Street; Priscilla Lyn Hurst, 125 Leaf Tree Avenue; Shawn, Richard, and Lillian Whitmer, 420 Jena Street; Chris and Amber Staggs, 734 Palo Verde Drive; Ilene and George Reinart, 724 N. Milan Street; Vahe Markarian, 1097 Via Prato Lane; David and Sharon Haywood, 528 N. Milan Street; George and Paula Isenbarg, 932 Firth Avenue; Ron and Margie Nelson, 423 Lisbon Street; Michael and Jami Patchett, 424 N. Milan Street; Earl and Linda Cridland, 612 N. Magic Way; Christopher DiPonte, 1169 Cactus Rock Street; Stephanie Hoeker, 600 Via Colmo Avenue; Liliana Dawson, 157 Rolling Cove Avenue; Sally and Brian Bechtel, 732 Hull Street; Karen Suddon, 3154 N. Naples Drive; Sandra Humphreys, 415 Cannes Avenue; Sam Presfent, 441 Via Stretto Avenue; Jerry and Jill Harris, 1131 Dublin Avenue; Rodney and Amber Foutz, 920 Via Stellato Street; Marvin and Judean Schmidt, 736 Emden Street; Mark and Patricia Johnson, 1123 Firth Avenue; Shari Warren, 720 Kiel Street; J. Emper, 924 Berlin Avenue; Albert and Diane Nelson, 476 Via Del Foro; Ellen Kaptain, 424 Via Stretto Avenue; Kevin Dawson, 157 Rolling Cove Avenue; Jennifer Seaquist, 200 Via Luna Rosa Court; Stephen and Donna Makein, 549 Via Ruscello Way; Bryce and Karolyn Vowles, 1016 Via Latina Street; Tyler Watson, 539 Via Ripagrande Avenue; Susan Powers, 428 Kiel Street; Chuck and Kathy Lombardo, 708 Fife Street; Vernon Dale Rains, 720 Emden Street; Dena Beck and Scott May, 1185 Aspen Cliff Drive; Kelly McDade, 731 Fife Street; Daniel and Patricia Stegall, 1067 Via Saint Lucia Place; Scott and Joanne Thomas, 1074 Via Saint Lucia Place; Polly Wilson, 1111 Geneva Avenue; Jason and Sarah Castiglione, 1058 Via Di Olivia; Christopher and Suzanne Taddei, Tuscany resident; April Blevins, 704 Fife Street; Robert and Alison Callaway, 535 Via Ripagrande Avenue; Ken Reed, 520 Milan Street; Dave and Leslie Odekirk, 423 N. Milan Street; Tom McLaughlin, 472 Via Palermo Avenue; John Scott, 1064 Via Corto Street; Robert and Siew Chiew Moran, 1049 Viale Placenza Place; James Sposato, P.O. Box 93004; Leandro and Sharon Galaz, 524 Punto Vallata Drive; Keith and Katherine Hasbrouck, 507 N. Racetrack Road; K. Kerstiens, 512 N. Racetrack Road; Irene Copi, 504 N. Racetrack Road; Guillaume Guy, 712 Emden Drive; William Archer and Billy Owensby, 1165 Cactus Rock Street; Marcos and Maria Aguirre, 1901 Allen Avenue; Marcia Schellhase, 501 Via Palermo Avenue; Darlene Cartin, 1020 Viale Placenza; Arlene Belman, 933 Via Doccia Court; Edward and Donna Kokosky, 997 Via Lanale Drive; Mark and Wanda Shumar, 616 Via Colmo Avenue; George Horn, 428 Kiel Street; and Jim and Johanna Leyde, 1069 Via Prata Lane.

The following residents voiced their opposition to this project due to concerns regarding incompatibility with residential neighborhoods, decrease in property values, safety, and EMF relating to health:  Tom Sims, 489 Via Palermo Drive; Bill Wilson, 1111 Geneva; Art Wolf, 4429 Live Oak Drive; Bobby Cook and Danny Winegar, 1204 Olivia Parkway; John Blevins, 704 Fife Street; Richard and Joyce Hulsey, 511 Orleans Street; Annie Meadows, 521 Punto Vallata Drive; Andrew Simmons, 1123 Cactus Rock Street; Gregorio Gomez, 536 N. Racetrack Road; Joel Kaplan, 577 Via Di Parione Court; Nancy Myers, 708 Hill Street; Bill DiBenedetto, 1064 Via Canale Drive; Bill Kerstiens, 512 N. Racetrack Road; Patty McPherson-Luker, 712 Emden Street; Evelyn Daumeyer, 461 Punto Vallata Drive; Brooke Bohlke and Matthew Paulowski, 961 Via Stellato Street; Lance McDade, 731 Fife Street; Teri Engel, 424 Lisbon Street; Sari Grossman, 511 Via Ripagrande Avenue; and Max Dominguez, 524 Kiel Street.  

Mr. Sims displayed a quarter-inch per one-foot scale of the existing powerlines.  Mr. Wilson displayed a rendering that is drawn to scale showing the height of the proposed poles compared to a 16 foot home.  Mr. Gregorio and Mr. Kaplan showed photographs depicting the existing wooden power lines near their homes.  Ms. Daumeyer showed aerial photographs of the area in 1999 versus 2009.  Ms. McPherson-Luker displayed an eight-inch scale model showing the existing transmission lines compared to the proposed transmission lines; and she also displayed a sample of a 954 KC mil ACSR, aluminum plaid steel reinforced conductor.  

There being no on else wishing to speak, the public hearing was closed at 9:32 p.m.

Mayor Pro Tem Schroder thanked all the residents for attending this meeting and participating in the public hearing process.  She stated that she understands NV Energy supporting the shortest distance.  She expressed concern that the existing poles are literally in yards of people who live in Section 4.  She believes that increasing the height of the poles will disrupt their quality of life.  

Councilman Kirk suggested that NV Energy incentivize customers to do more with solar power. He stated he does not believe the power lines need to be located along this alignment and encouraged the applicant to find an alternate route away from the neighborhoods.  He said he will not support this project because the proposed poles are too large and obstructive and would be a negative impact on the neighborhoods.  Councilman Kirk commented that it might be beneficial to consider drafting an ordinance regarding the height of power poles in Henderson.  

Councilwoman March agreed that the proposed alignment is not compatible with the residential nature of the adjacent uses in terms of the scale, site design, and operating characteristics.  She noted that the configuration was determined based on growth patterns from many years ago, and suggested that NV Energy revise its growth projections based on current development.  

Councilman Kirk moved to deny the appeal of the Planning Commission's denial of a request to allow construction of a major utility (electrical) transmission line and an upgrade to a portion of an existing transmission line for approximately six miles in length, originating at the Henderson City Limits north of Weston Hills and terminating at the Equestrian Substation, in the Pittman, Calico Ridge, Foothills, and River Mountain Planning Areas.  The roll call vote favoring passage was:  Those voting Aye:  Boutin, Kirk, March, and Schroder.  Those voting Nay:  None.  Those Abstaining:  Hafen.  Those Absent:  None.   Mayor Hafen declared the motion carried.