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Kendall

Kendall residents oppose giant FPL power lines

 

jflechas@MiamiHerald.com

Kendall residents don’t want 100-foot-tall high-voltage power lines running through their backyards.

But if it happens, they want the lines underground.

About 75 residents attended an informational meeting Monday night to discuss different proposals to erect Florida Power & Light transmission lines from the utility’s Turkey Point plant northward through the county. One of the proposals has the lines running through existing corridors in the middle of Kendall, from Southwest 136th Street to Flagler Street between 107th and 97th Avenues.

It’s an alternate route supported by eastern cities like Pinecrest, South Miami and Coral Gables, which don’t want the lines running up FPL’s preferred route along U.S. 1.

Representatives from FPL and officials from the three cities attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations.

While many residents simply opposed the lines going through Kendall, most asked about putting them underground, with many raising concerns about the effects of electromagnetic fields created by the lines. Studies have been inconclusive about possible health risks.

Steve Scroggs, project director for FPL, said underground lines take longer to repair and cost more.

“It’s possible,” he said. “It’s just quite expensive.”

Resident Lucas Godinez said almost everyone agrees about the lines being underground, but it is unclear who should the shoulder the added cost.

“The question remains: ‘Who will pay for it?’ ” he said.

The debate has gone on for a few years now, and an administrative law judge is expected to hold hearings in July and make a recommendation afterward. The decision would then go to Gov. Rick Scott.

Philip Stoddard, mayor of South Miami, said he hoped the conversation will shift away from two cities pitted against each other to banding together to bring their concerns to Tallahassee.

“I think the way we ought to do it is rather than fighting each other locally, we have to join together and bring our case to Tallahassee,” he said.

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