FishHawk Residents to Discuss Power Line Concerns with State Rep.
A meeting with Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, is set for Thursday, May 24, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Palmetto Club.
FishHawk Ranch residents are taking their concerns about a proposed transmission line through their neighborhoods to their state officials.
The residents have set up a meeting with state Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, and a representative from the office of state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, to discuss Tampa Electric Co.'s proposal to install 120-foot-tall high-voltage electrical lines between The Bridges and Channing Park neighborhoods in FishHawk Ranch.
The meeting will take place May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at The Palmetto Club, 17004 Dorman Rd, Lithia.
"Rep. Burgin has great concerns for the residents of FishHawk," said Burgin's legislative aide, Sheryl Grover. "She has already met with TECO to discuss their plans and will meet with them again after the meeting to relay the residents' concerns."
TECO is considering expanding its Polk Power Station in southwestern Polk County to increase production of electricity it will need in five years, according to TECO spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs.
She said the expansion will require TECO to build 40 miles of transmission lines from the plant to the FishHawk Substation at 19306 Boyette Rd., Lithia. The company also would build a substation near Balm-Boyette Road. As proposed, the transmission line would run through FishHawk Ranch, a plan the residents adamantly oppose.
In response to the news that the residents will meet with Burgin, Jacobs said, "We are in the very early stages of this project, and I am glad to see the community so engaged and involved in the process."
Residents of the area have a number of concerns including possible adverse health impacts of the 230-kilovolt transmission line and the devaluation of their properties once transmission lines are constructed behind and to the side of their homes.
Residents in the Bridges neighborhoods said they paid a premium for lots they believed backed up to a conservation area. They've since learned the conservation area is where TECO proposes erecting the power poles.
"The power lines will be on our side of the Bridges trail, not hidden back behind some trees." said Patrick Reilly in an alert to FishHawk residents on the Facebook page "FishHawk Peeps." "The TECO easement is on our side of the trails and goes all the way to the property lines of the homes in the Bridges. Apparently, our trail would have to be bulldozed to accommodate 120-foot-tall high-voltage power lines.
"Picture the power line easement in phase I cutting right through our community ...for over one mile, from behind Egret Landing all the way through the Bridges," said Reilly.
If TECO's expansion moves forward, TECO would begin construction in 2014. However, the company is also seeking bids from other companies to provide more power. If that occurs, it won't need to expand its Polk Power Station.
That's something residents are hoping.
"The power being supplied is not for us in FishHawk," said Reilly, "but for future use by other communities not affected by these power lines. We have a limited time to oppose this together as one strong community. It is imperative that as many residents of FishHawk Ranch as possible attend the meeting on May 24 at The Palmetto Club."