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Newly-installed power lines may be torn out after Boulder County issues wrong permit

Neighbors appeal county permit
Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 20:47:26-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Months of work to install new power lines in Boulder County by Xcel Energy may have to be removed after the county issued the wrong permits.

Several months ago, Brent Milne and Krista Marks received a post card in the mail notifying them of upcoming work Xcel Energy would be doing near their home in Bear Canyon.

"A notice from the county about a grading project it said," said Milne.

But as time went on and heavy construction began, they said it was clear more work was going on.

"I think there is so little awareness that this has even happened," said Marks.

Milne and Marks issued an appeal to the county, leading the Boulder County Board of Adjustment to overturn the planning department’s decision that granted Xcel Energy a permit.

Director of community planning and permitting for Boulder County, Dale Case, tells Denver7 he should have issued a different permit for the required transmission tower work. Now that the permit was overturned, Case says Xcel Energy was notified to stop work until a review is complete.

"We feel like it is sort of our duty to call attention to it and make sure this is corrected and also doesn’t happen again," said Marks.

Milne and Marks say it’s not the construction of the towers that bothered them, it was the lack of public engagement.

"We need to shine a light because the board of adjustments has found that they did not follow process, so let’s stop and let’s follow process. It is not too late," said Marks.

Case says home’s in the area were given postcards and notified, but the outreach wasn’t as extensive as other projects.

"It doesn’t matter if they’re building a house in Boulder County or if you’re a utility running new lines, they have to apply the code fairly and evenly," said Milne.

In a statement, Xcel Energy says in part, "Xcel Energy obtained multiple permits related to the project and we have proceeded within the parameters set forth in those permits. Additionally, throughout the project we have coordinated with the City of Boulder Parks and Open Space, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and others and will continue to do so as we work to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to all of our Colorado customers.”

As soon as the review is complete, Case says attorney’s for the planning department will give Xcel Energy 14 days to make any appeals, at that point the county commissioners could decide to hold a public hearing.