Great River Energy updates Linwood Town Board on power line extension

During Tuesday, March 27 town board meeting

Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

Peter Schaub of Great River Energy presented an update of the negotiations for the 69kV power line extension route between Athens substation and the Martin Lake substation to the Linwood Town Board on Tuesday, March, 27. He displayed a map which shows the latest proposed route.

The route of the line is what has created the most controversy.

Schaub reported that GRE is in negotiations/mediation with the city of East Bethel. The Fawn Lake Drive portion of the route is basically settled.  There was a question about why the route did not head directly south from Fawn Lake Drive, along Typo Creek, instead of a route south on Sunset Road, east on CR-26 to Typo Lake Drive, then south to the Martin Lake substation.

There are environmentally significant areas along a route straight south along Typo Creek Drive. In addition there are potentially some archaeological significant areas, and the Linwood Cemetery is in the pathway. Schaub said time and money are balanced in seeking routes.

Again, as much as possible, the GRE route would try to follow the Connexus routes. This minimizes the number of trees which must be removed.  Another consideration is distance between the poles. Hot lines sag.  This “blow down” is reduced by reducing distance between poles or placing arms on the poles on alternating sides.

Town Board Chair Mike Parker asked if placement of the poles can be mediated, especially in cases where property owners would like to preserve mature trees.  Schaub said compensatory payments for easements would help with landscaping.

A forester is also available to help suggest landscaping or screening vegetation, but the ultimate decision lies with the property owners. Although no numbers were given, Schaub said the company tries to be work with homeowners and be fair in compensation.

Supervisor Phil Osterhus said no one would complain about poles placed closer together. One item of importance would be to know the route ahead of time so that trees that are targeted for removal would not be a surprise to properlty owners.

Individual negotiations might remedy situations, officials said..

Cell Tower

The township is in the midst of negotiating lease terms with the cell tower for Midcontinent Communications. The town board directed Town Clerk Judy Hanna to check with surrounding communities which have cell phone agreements to determine the range of lease rates for similar structures located there.

This will provide Attorney Gerald Randall with current information to negotiate in the matter.

Thyen Vacation

Supervisors considered a request from Arthur and Joanne Thyen for the township to vacate half the width of the lake access easement (eight feet) which is located on the west side of their cabin lot, near the intersection of East Martin Lake Drive and Orinoco Street. The lane is narrow, trees are growing in it, there is public access to the lake elsewhere and it is seldom used.

The DNR had responded to the request, recommending against the township vacating the land.

A primary reason is that in the 1926 original plat, the intention was to donate the land to public use and access.

The town board agreed with the DNR opinion and voted unanimously to deny the request.

New Fire Truck

The Linwood Fire Department truck committee is putting together the specifications for the new truck, in preparation for advertising for bids. The department will seek bids to paint the interior of the fire station during the spring.

Volunteer fire fighters are training. A medical refresher course was completed February 17-19. Several volunteers have attended state fire fighting training schools in Mankato and Alexandria.

There are burning restrictions in the township and these are likely to be in effect until the grass greens up. A siren maintenance program will be presented to the board in April.

Vandalism

According to Supervisor Mike Budde there has been repeated, vandalism in Four Seasons Park and to the hockey rink warming house.

The township will check with a security company on costs to install surveillance cameras and/or cameras triggered by motion to help identify individuals or deter them.

Other Topics

The list of 2012 election judges was unanimously approved by the board.

They are Julie Bernston, Sheila Bien, Shirley Doberstein, Bonnie Freeland, Ilene Hudak, Anita Johnson, Craig Kasl, Barb Lendway, Jan McDonough, Suzanne Slavik, Ruth Smallidge, Sandra Staub, Valerie Strub, Sharon Townsend, Mike Voligny, Jill Weimer and Brenda Willard.

Hanna reported that the UCare exercise classes are limited to 15 participants.  There have been so many residents participating; the class may need to be split into two sections.

At the town board meeting on March 13 after the annual meeting, supervisors approved up to $600 for the purchase of a Stihl pole saw. The request came from the road and bridge committee and funds are to come from the R & B Fund.

Town Board Chair Mike Parker announced Justin Kleidosty and Ally Deshong as the winners of the township Medallion Hunt.

They found the medallion on February 27, in a hollow tree, a bridge in the school forest.
Other Business

In other business, the board:

•Passed a resolution re-establishing the Linwood Senior/Community Center as the township polling place.

•Unanimously approved payment of the March 27, 2012 bills in the amount of $76,454.45, which includes the first quarter payment of $53,197.75 to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office for the police contract.

•By unanimous vote approved the appointment of Steve Strandland to the road and bridge committee.

• Accepted the resignation of Carol LaFountaine from the Linwood Planning and Zoning Committee.

•Approved the appointment of Ed Kramer to planning and zoning.

•Approved the minutes of the board meetings for February 14, 22, 28, and March 13.  The vote was 5-0.

•Agreed to township insurance protection at the next regular meeting.

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