Town approves resolution rejecting transmission line routes

By Gail Peckler-Dziki


The Salem Town Board on Nov. 16 unanimously approved a resolution rejecting all power line routes proposed by the American Transmission Company

The board further requested that the Public service Commission require the ATC to reconsider and resubmit to the PCS alternate routes.

The resolution stated that the proposed power lines and substations would have an undue and adverse impact on the health and welfare of town residents because of the proximity of the facilities to residences and schools.

The placement of the facilities and the removal of thousands of trees from lands within the town for the facilities would also have an adverse impact on the aesthetics of the town, the resolution contends.

The resolution also states the proposed facilities “will unreasonably interfere with the orderly land use and development plans for the Town of Salem in the areas where the facilities are proposed.”

The American Transmission Company has been working on developing a route from the existing Spring Valley Substation in western Kenosha County to the North Lake Geneva Substation in southern Walworth County.

While the ATC began with several choices for the route, two final possibilities were presented last January. The final choice has few fans in western Kenosha County.

Numerous residents of the Falcon Heights subdivision spoke at the Town Board meeting Nov. 9, expressing concern about dropping property values should the line run along 256th Avenue, right next to Falcon Heights.

And even though the ATC moved the line from running across the street from Salem Grade School, Falcon Heights residents believe it is still too close.

Terry Perez, who lives in Falcon Heights, explained to the Town Board that her home would be closest to the high voltage transmission line and would adversely affect her son who suffers from asthma.

“It’s not good for the children that attend Salem Grade School,” Perez said. “But its worse for the children who live in our subdivision and will be near the line all day, every day.”

Town Chairwoman Diann Tesar said she sympathizes with the residents.

“No one wants it close to their home and the route right through the middle of Salem adversely affects us all.”

Brandi Nelson, another Falcon Heights resident, asked if the town had conducted a study to see how much in tax revenues the town would lose because of declining property values and people who might choose not to build in Salem because of the transmission line.

She said the property tax bill for a $500,000 home was about $10,000. Town Supervisor Dennis Faber agreed that number was correct, but stated that the town receives only a fraction of that amount.

Nelson asked why the county wasn’t more concerned about the transmission line placement.

More than 20 concerned residents appeared at the Nov. 9 meeting, many speaking against the proposed transmission line route and asking the Town Board to rally behind them.

Supervisor Mike Culat commented that no one wants to see that route and said, “Our hands are tied.”

Salem business owner Brian Filiatreault warned that those who comment on the PSC website regarding the project would not be allowed to speak at the PSC hearing set for Dec. 1.

“And its one person for each parcel,” he said, “so if the husband comments on the page, the wife can’t speak at the hearing.”



Roundabout opposed

The board also passed a resolution opposed to the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of highways 83 and C.

The resolution passed on a 4-1 vote, with supervisor Dennis Faber voting against the resolution.

He has stated numerous times that he is in favor of the roundabout.

“I like roundabouts and I think that the DOT (Department of Transportation) did a good study regarding the need for one there.”

He also said that the stoplights were not put in properly.

DOT personnel reported that to fix the stoplights properly would cost $4 million to $5 million and involve a long-term road closure. The roundabout would cost $2 million to $3 million and involve a short road closure.

The state plans to begin construction in 2018.

The resolution states that the Town of Salem opposes the use of a roundabout as a traffic control at the intersection “in light of local traffic conditions.”

The resolution will be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, state Sen. Van Wanggaard and state Rep. Samantha Kerkman.

Between 2009 and 2013, there were 30 crashes at the signaled intersection of highways 83 and C. While there were no fatalities, there was one crash that caused severe injuries and six crashes with non-severe injuries.

When DOT representative Cynthia Flower came to Salem to answer questions, town Supervisor Dan Campion said the traffic lights at that intersection were out of sync and correcting that issue might make the intersection safer. He was opposed to spending money to build the roundabout.

The board recently passed a resolution supporting legislation currently in the state legislature that would give local municipalities more control over the placement of roundabouts within their boundaries.



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