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Homeowners form coalition to oppose Duke’s power line

First, homeowners in neighborhoods began banding together to oppose Duke Energy’s proposed 230-kilovolt transmission line through Henderson County. Now, neighborhoods are uniting.

A group of homeowner association presidents met last week “to formulate a consolidated objection to the Duke Power project around the west side of Hendersonville,” said Morgan Reynolds, president of the Willow Creek Farms, off Hebron Road near Cummings Cove. Those two subdivisions plus High Vista, Mill Ridge and Mills Point in Mills River are forming the coalition to oppose the route that crosses from Hebron Road and Mills River area.
“A couple of those (neighborhood associations) are already working on trying to secure some other HOAs in the vicinity,” Reynolds said. “We’re also looking at commercial companies that might be affected.”
Homeowners are concerned that the transmission lines strung between 10-story towers every two-tenths mile will hurt property values even if their homes are not in the direct path. The lines are about 150 feet high and the right of way is 150 feet wide. Towers will take up a 30X30-foot square, project manager Steve Wilson told a meeting of farmers last week.
“Cummings Cove has already indicated people have backed out at looking at property,” Reynolds said. “High Vista is very concerned. They said a few people had called and indicated they do not want to pursue this (buying) at the moment. One of the other problems is they paid for the view and the view isn’t to look at power lines.”
The coalition has drafted a letter to the N.C. Utilities Commission spelling out objections to the power line, he added.
Tom Williams, Duke Energy’s director of external relations, said the utility is paying attention to property owners’ concerns.
“Clearly, we appreciate that folks are concerned,” he said. Company officials are exploring now whether to narrow down the route quicker than they had planned. “Given all the uncertainty we may be accelerating this to some degree,” he said.
Williams points out that Duke notified people within 1,000 feet of the proposed routes’ centerline and it showed about 40 possible segments. Much of the opposition would fall away, he said, once Duke chooses a preferred route (and eliminates others) and when people realize that the line won’t be visible from their house.