Power Poles and Overhead Lines At Lake Quivira
Around the lake recently, we have had a fair degree of dialogue about power poles and overhead lines. In recent years, we have benefitted from the efforts of council members (historically Betsy Vossman and currently Gayle Best) who have taken on the important and challenging task of tending to the upkeep and gradual improvement of Holliday Drive. When discussing aesthetics associated with Holliday Drive, a discussion would be incomplete without including dialogue about the overhead power lines. They are a strong presence. I do not believe I have met anyone who is thrilled to have power poles and overhead lines on Holliday Drive.
Your City Council has engaged in significant dialogue over the years about a gradual or phased initiative to ultimately bury these overhead lines. Discussion has not been limited to just the lines outside of the gates. Although some overhead lines are more high-profile than others, we have overhead lines and power poles within our gates that are candidates for inclusion in this discussion as well.
The previous discussions have generally centered around the pros and cons associated with burying these overhead lines. Although opposition to power poles has typically been rooted in aesthetic considerations, there is a very real and practical issue having to maintain and protect overhead lines in a community that is so rich in great trees which add to maintenance costs and concerns. All this said, burying existing power lines is an extremely expensive notion that, from the City’s budgetary position, would require a multi-year phased initiative. Candidly, I think considering a plan that approaches this gradually over a number of years is something that is very worth our time and consideration.
With the introduction of the incoming golf practice facility a new layer of dialogue has been introduced. Of course, this new golf facility will need electricity. The power company will run power to this site at no cost. However, this would be in the form of overhead power lines. The cost to our community to bury such lines would, I am told, be nearly a hundred thousand dollar notion. The issue gets more complex in that our City, like most area cities, require that new construction projects bury power lines. Installation of such lines would require approval for a construction variance.
Q Inc. approached our Board of Zoning Appeals to better understand the possibility of getting a variance in this situation. A variance was not available for this particular project and the introduction of new power poles and overhead lines was not allowed. Candidly, I’m not sure if power poles would have ultimately been installed there even if it were approved. However, I think that under any path, it is important for Q Inc. to understand what options we have or do not have.
I am comfortable with the posture of the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals. I think they made the right decision. I am very much in favor of not introducing new power poles on Quivira Lane or anywhere else in Lake Quivira, for that matter. For sure, this discussion is not over. But I am very pleased to live in a community where we explore all options and consider these options through a stewardship lens – stewardship of our both our community aesthetics as well as our finances. My hope is that we can find a cost effective path to enjoy a new power-equipped practice facility without having the aesthetic encumbrance of overhead lines. I think one way or another we will work together to get there.