EATON — Eaton and Xcel Energy have reached a settlement in a dispute over the location of a substation and the potential electromagnetic radiation that could result.
The city denied a special use permit in March, resulting in a lawsuit filed in Weld County District Court and a filing with the Public Utilities Commission.
In a statement Friday, Wesley LaVanchy, Eaton’s acting city administrator, said the city determined it was unlikely to win in the long term and that Xcel’s proposed compromises were in the best interest of the city. town.
“It’s a less than ideal position for the city and the residents with well-meaning people on both sides of the contested issues,” LaVanchy said. “We try to make the most of where we are. The likelihood of the city prevailing in both court and commission is low, and there is no need to spend additional taxpayer money on the effort. We believe the Global Settlement provides the best way forward with required reporting and park mitigation efforts.
“In addition, the new Xcel upgrades will reduce power outages for homes, businesses and schools and modernize Eaton’s electrical network for current and future generations.”
The terms of the settlement agreement, as included in a press release, included:
- Once the project is complete, Xcel will monitor EMFs for a period of five years and provide an annual report to the city. Monitoring will include measurements from three locations in Eaton Commons Park.
- Xcel will provide information from two reputable independent parties on EMF safety; a joint sales analysis of the impact of high voltage transmission lines on nearby residential property values; and a copy of Xcel’s Agricultural Mitigation Plan associated with the project.
- Xcel will host an open house at Eaton with a qualified human health expert specializing in EMF research to address citizen concerns and answer questions.
- Xcel will enter into a mitigation and park funding agreement for Eaton Commons Park, providing $300,000 to the city. The money will be used to connect trails, improve park equipment and parking, and other appropriate uses.
- Xcel will improve the proposed landscaping at the substation.
- Xcel’s construction of the transmission lines will be substantially consistent with the proposal it provided in its application to the Eaton Zoning and Planning Commission and City Council.
- After the appeal periods have elapsed, Xcel will dismiss its pending litigation in Weld County District Court and subsequent appeal to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
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