Vassalboro planners OK replacement of power poles

by Mary Grow

Central Maine Power Company’s plan to replace power poles and lines between McCoy’s Substation, in Vassalboro, and the Augusta East substation got approval from the Vassalboro Planning Board at a Feb. 4 meeting, but still awaits state action, company spokespeople said.

The map accompanying their presentation to the planning board shows McCoy’s Substation, on Cross Hill Road, north of Webber Pond (local maps show McCoy’s Crossing as the intersection where Cross Hill, Taber Hill and Bog roads meet). The power line runs southwest along Bog Road, the west shore of the pond and beside Church Hill Road to North Belfast Avenue (Route 3).

Seventeen of the 65 poles are in Resource Protection districts and therefore require local approval, according to the board agenda.

Both current and planned poles heights vary, but engineer Gary Emond, of Power Engineers, said on average, the new poles will be 15 to 20 feet higher than existing ones.

CMP personnel have discussed construction plans with abutters, Project Manager Nicole Harbaugh said. Deborah Turcotte said she spoke with the owner of a private airport who was concerned about higher poles and lines interfering with flight paths. A consultant recommended slightly shorter poles and colored marker balls on the lines; CMP concurred and the airport owner is satisfied.

The CMP representatives said there are no plans to move poles any significant distance, nor to expand the company’s right-of-way, nor to ask for additional easements or do additional clearing along Webber Pond.

Discontinued poles are cut off at ground height, Harbaugh said, and either given to abutters (if they want them and if they plan to use them in environmentally harmless ways) or hauled away. Pole stumps are left in the ground except in agricultural fields.

Electrical service will not be disrupted during construction, Harbaugh said. The tentative – she emphasized tentative – schedule has work beginning in May and ending sometime in the fall. However, she said, the Maine Public Utilities Commission is still reviewing new legislation that might be relevant, and Emond is still working with Department of Environmental Protection staff.

After unanimously approving CMP’s proposed work, board members also approved Codes Officer Paul Mitnik’s revised shoreland zoning permit application.

The next Vassalboro Planning Board meeting will be March 10, the second Tuesday of the month, because their usual first Tuesday evening will find the town office meeting room set up as a voting room for presidential primary elections and one state referendum question.


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