Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Eminent Domain

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dear Landowner?
J. and I got a completely unexpected letter today about something called the Midwest Transmission Project.  It seems that Kansas City Power and Light (my old employer and folks that supply our electricity here in KC) and Omaha Public Power District are teaming up for a $400 million project to build a new substation and bring in some 140 to 170 miles of new 345-kv transmission line to northwestern Missouri and southeastern Nebraska.  Seems there were some initial meetings about the project back in August that we weren't aware of and weren't notified about.  They're now in the route planning phase and our farm is smack dab in the middle of the planning area.

The first thing I thought was: eminent domain.

There are more meetings scheduled for later this month and we'll be going.  In the meantime, I immediately started digging on the Internet for more info, as the site doesn't provide much about the potential routes.  The more I read, the more I panicked until I finally found this:

"We have the power of eminent domain, but we don't like using it."  Davis said, "(sic) the route will generally avoid rights-of-way containing existing lines.  Dual-location cuts redundancy and increases the odds for an outage in the event of an ice storm, tornado and other calamities. "

Well, that's good news.  We already have a high-voltage easement running through our 40 acres that I'm already uneasy about.  The studies that have been done on high-voltage lines and their affect on health have been inconclusive - some say they do affect health, some say they don't.  Until we know for sure, I'm still concerned.  You can read here about a dairy farmer in Omaha whose lights stayed on even after flipping the switch in his barn because of electrical interference from these lines.  Scary, huh?

The line is in a location that we could locate the house far enough from it, but it's still there marring our view.  We're not allowed to do anything within 65 feet in either direction.  Since it's just pasture right now, that's not an issue, but it's something we'll have to consider when we move out there for good.  No planting, no animal enclosures, no nothing.  Another line on the acreage would make it unbuildable, in my opinion.  I certainly wouldn't want to live there with all that high voltage over my head.  And having those lines decreases your property values because nobody else wants to live there either.

The reason given for this project is to increase redundancy and availability of this part of the electrical grid. But I kept seeing the phrases "wind energy" and "green energy". Hmmm...   And I wonder if this has something to do with the 9% increase on our utility bills that just kicked in at the beginning of the year?  Anybody else get a 9% raise in salary this year?  We certainly didn't.

1 comment:

  1. The first Calamity Acres had those same power poles marching through the pasture. It would have been a gorgeous building spot, at the top of the pasture... but the view would have included the poles, and as you said... you could not build within 65 feet of them. They didn't really bother me and I didn't notice any undue "interference" from them... but didn't enjoy them, either.


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