Power poles create concern in Manchester

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MANCHESTER — The installation of power poles on Route 11/30 near the intersection of Route 7 in Manchester is on temporary hold after questions were raised about the project.

Town Manager John O'Keefe said the Green Mountain Power project was permitted by the state, but the work appears to run counter to Manchester's Town Plan that calls for new or upgraded power line projects to take into account several factors including the aesthetics.

The town received complaints about the projects from several folks, who said the area was a scenic designation in the town plan is the first thing many visitors see when they take the Manchester exit off Route 7.

O'Keefe said the town and GMP are working together on the issue and, while there is no agreement in place as of press time, it was in the works.

"The Town of Manchester is working with Green Mountain Power to develop an alternative plan that will help ensure the scenic vistas along Depot Street and Route 7 at the entrance of Town."

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The plan was to install power poles along Route 11/30 right up to Route 7 and then bore under the highway.

O'Keefe said the plan was to eliminate some of the above-ground poles to keep them farther from Route 7 and put more of the line underground.

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O'Keefe said the discussions were ongoing and an agreement might be reached soon and work would resume.

Janet M. Hurley, the town planning & zoning director, provided a copy of the Town and Plan and pointed out that Section 3.3 — Power & Telecommunications Facilities, covers the subject.

Section 3.3 of The Town Plan discusses the need to balance the demand for electrical power and the need to preserve the beauty of the community and present an attractive streetscape.

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In part, the section reads: "When planning new lines or upgrades to existing lines, special consideration should be given to any primary or secondary impacts that would reduce resource values (including but not limited to aesthetics and streetscape design, agricultural and timber resources, natural areas, and historic sites).

It continues: "When a new electrical transmission corridor is planned, it must be demonstrated that the proposed location is necessary based upon economic considerations, potential impacts on resource values, and the resulting public benefits. Where improvements are planned, such as those for major downtown streets, the utility company will be encouraged to install underground lines, or to use other suitable techniques to minimize the visual impacts of transmission lines and poles."

O'Keefe said the work is aimed at creating a more reliable electrical system with GMP attempting to relocate a line that currently following a circuitous path, following the railroad tracks northeasterly from Depot Street near Loretta Avenue. The line continues past the end of Dufresne Pond Road, then goes under Route 7 near an old gravel yard before heading through the woods just north of Bromley Manor to Route 11/30.

The company suffers a lot of damage along that route causing outages and wants to move the line to follow Route 11/30.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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