DEP Schedules Hearing In Polk County For FishHawk TECO Power Lines

By Tamas Mondovics

FishHawk Ranch and Channing Park residents, not afraid of a little drive, will have a chance to get their voices heard in connection with TECO’s plans to install transmission lines through their neighborhood during an upcoming meeting hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The agency reportedly scheduled a meeting at the Bartow Civic Center where residents may make public comments and share their opinions about the project, which involves the proposal to run a portion of a brand new 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, above ground, on TECO owned land, between FishHawk Ranch and Channing Park.

The new lines are said to run on electric poles that will stand 90 to 120 ft. above ground within 100 yards from many residents’ homes.

The full scale project is a 40-mile expansion from the power plant in southwestern Polk County to the FishHawk Substation, located at 19306 Boyette Rd., in southeastern Hillsborough County.

TECO’s plans also include the building of a substation near Balm Boyette Rd. and Aspen Ave. in Hillsborough County.

Energy company officials said that a 10-mile portion of an existing 230-kV transmission line in the Pierce and Bradley areas of Polk County also would need to be relocated to improve reliability, with a possible completion by 2017.

According to recent reports, the need of the expansion and proposed routing of the lines has been established and approved by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

During an earlier meeting held by FishHawk area residents, homeowners were urged to testify before the PSC and to follow through with the meticulous registration process.

Channing Park resident, Christie VanVleet, who was spearheading the effort with some help from her husband Jason and a handful of fellow residents against the project, has launched a Facebook page, “Stop Power Lines NOW,” but said she is unsure about the community’s success of its fight against the energy giant.

As reported by TBO.com, the meeting is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 24 at the Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Flora Ave. in Polk County.

For more information about the proposed transmission lines please visit www.tampaelectric.com/polktofishhawk or visit the Facebook page “Stop Power Lines NOW.”