Thursday, September 5, 2013
Frisco residents strongly oppose Brazos Electric Power lines
More than 500 people came to Tuesday night's city council meeting to debate the subject.
FRISCO Frisco residents obviously haven’t heard not to wear white after Labor Day.
About 500 people donned white shirts to Tuesday’s city council meeting to voice their opposition to Brazos Electric’s proposed transmission line in the city.
The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution to oppose the line, which would span up to four miles and include multiple single pole structures, according to Brazos officials.
“There’s 432 steps going on here, we’re on No. 5 or 6,” Councilman Bob Allen said. “We got to come up with other alternatives -- other proposals -- and go from there. We’re committed to fighting for it.”
More than 10 residents spoke at the meeting, all voicing their concerns with the line, ranging from health to pure aesthetics.
Mayor Maher Maso said he has never seen the council chambers so full and extended an invite to everyone in attendance.
“Raise your hand if this is your first City Council meeting,” he jokingly asked the crowd. “Great, and I’m sure all of you will return for the next meeting, right?”
Maso may have been in a jovial mood, but those who came out were not. The chambers, which hold about 300 people, overflowed into the lobby, where another 200 gathered to watch the meeting on television.
The conflict started last week, when Brazos held an open house for residents to gather information on the project and ask questions to company representatives. The company said around 600 people showed up for that, even though the room held about 100.
Frisco resident Mike Grim said a group of homeowners associations met on August 30 and formed the West Frisco Homeowners’ Coalition. This was done as a response to what they said was a deficient meeting space when Brazos held its open public meeting on August 28.
“They had about 600 people wait in line in 100-degree temperatures to pack in a small room,” said Grim, who represented the coalition at the meeting. “Many citizens felt disenfranchised … and had to leave.”
State Rep. Pat Fallon, (R-Frisco), also showed up to the meeting and was the final resident speaker.
Fallon, a former city councilman, said the company is rushing to get the lines done at the expense of the people of Frisco.
“We are the taxpayers, and we are the ones who use the energy,” he said. “So it’s up to us to tell then we think this is wrong.”
Councilman Tim Nelson said he believes there is a right way to complete this project, but that way has yet to be discovered.
“This is a classic case of the cart being before the horse,” he said. “Whatever route this goes through needs to be the best for all of Frisco. We all consume power, but there are smarter ways of doing it than this way.”
Many residents said they felt Brazos had not provided sufficient evidence regarding the necessity of this project or concrete cost numbers.
Without a proven need, Councilman Will Sowell passed down some advice from his father.
“My dad was not an educated man, but one of his best sayings was ‘Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,’” he said.
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