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Valencia seniors protest new power towers

August 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The residents of a senior citizen housing development are up in arms over SoCal Edison building power line towers in their neighborhood. As one resident put it: "They're just ugly." Dozens of residents of the Belcaro Senior Citizen Community in Valencia are demanding Southern California Edison take down what they say are horrific, monstrous towers hovering over their otherwise beautiful retirement community.

"It's like a ghost hovering over our homes," said resident Sid Jurmon. "This is not what I moved here for."

"Now, if somebody brought a client down this street, I don't think anyone in this crowd would buy my house because of that," said resident Shari Dickinson.

Residents say they attended public hearings with Southern California Edison and city officials, and all agreed to use small, aesthetically pleasing utility poles through the area instead of the giant towers that started springing up about a month ago.

"Now I'm looking at the towers," said resident Winston Green. "I am very upset. I think someone did a job on us."

SoCal Edison officials say the lattice towers are being put through property in Valencia where Edison has the right-of-way. They say the towers are going up to reinforce the electricity grid in the city of Santa Clarita and surrounding communities, including L.A.

Residents say with the eyesores further eroding already-plummeting property values in the area, they're considering legal action to get them removed.

"They're not threatening to sue Edison just to get something," said the residents' attorney, Hunt Braly. "They want to get what was required, what was promised."

Tom Burhenn with Southern California Edison issued a statement:

"We have never wavered in our position to put lattice steel towers in that location because of engineering considerations. The Public Utilities Commission asked us to consider smaller tubular steel poles, but after reviewing the difference between the poles and towers, the PUC ordered us to use the towers because the poles are not feasible in that location."

Santa Clarita city officials say they issued a letter of protest with Southern California Edison to remove the towers. They recently got a response.

"The response was that they are not changing the towers," said Paul Brotzman, Santa Clarita director of community development.

 

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