Dublin city employees will study the feasibility of modifications to a transmission line route AEP wants to build in the city's West Innovation District, near the Ballantrae subdivision.

The Dec. 2 Dublin City Council meeting at which the project was discussed was held before an overflow crowd in City Council Chambers,

Dublin police estimated 90 Ballantrae residents attended the meeting in council chambers and another 90 watched while gathered outside chambers.

During the meeting, several residents voiced concerns that the transmission line would reduce the property values of their residences.

PJM Interconnection -- a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of electricity in 13 states including Ohio -- mandated AEP build a new line in Dublin's West Innovation District based on energy forecasts and projections, said Dublin Public Affairs Officer Lindsay Weisenauer.

Joe Demaree, a project outreach specialist for AEP, said Dublin residents and businesses -- and future residents and business -- would require more electricity. The summer of 2022 is when projected electrical capacity necessary to support businesses and residents would outpace existing infrastructure, he said.

The proposed transmission line, Demaree said, would fix that problem and avoid putting AEP's power grid in jeopardy.

Council members on Dec. 2 voted 7-0 to recommend an alternative transmission line route to AEP, one that travels along Eiterman Road and near the planned University Boulevard -- that would run between Eiterman and Shier-Rings Road -- and then along Shier-Rings Road. The route would primarily feature 65-foot-tall poles instead of the 90-foot-tall poles AEP originally planned.

Along with approving the recommended alternative, council directed city staff to look into two additional pieces of information, Weisenauer said.

One would be the cost of burying a 1,500-foot section of transmission line near the future University Boulevard, she said.

The second would be exploring options to sweep the route farther north where it travels near University Boulevard, to be farther away from the Ballantrae neighborhood.

AEP has the right to go forward with its project with or without city approval or input, Weisenauer said, but the city has been working with AEP.

Anything alternative to AEP's original plan -- such as burying power lines -- would be done at the city's cost, Weisenauer said. Dublin has looked at various alternatives, from burying the entire line to burying sections -- solutions that range from $8 million to $32 million, she said.

Dan Mowbray, a Ballantrae resident, said any solution that moves power poles away from residential areas is a good solution.

"Power lines are unsightly," he said.

Christian Cooney, president of the Ballantrae Homeowners Association, said he would be happy to avoid 90-foot tall poles, although he said he believes 65-foot poles would as tall as a 5-story building.

Responding to residents' concerns, Dublin Mayor Greg Peterson said the city is trying to adjust and adapt to the project the best that it can.

"We didn't come up with this idea," he said.

Ballantrae resident Carrie Larkin said she wasn't aware of the project until November. She originally moved away from Hilliard because of similar issues with power lines, she said.

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