May 04--WILTON -- Proposed construction of a Central Maine Power substation in East Wilton is needed to upgrade the current substation located off Temple Road, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told the Board of Selectpersons on Tuesday.
Irish and Tiffany Maiuri, Board Chairperson, met with representatives from Central Maine Power Tuesday to discuss their intentions for the recent purchase of property at 1228 Main St.
After purchasing the 5-acre lot from Philip and Kimberly Hilton, CMP intends to assess a location for a small substation before meeting with local residents in August. Engineers will soon begin going over the property to create a plan, she said.
According to their basic timeline, CMP plans to start the permitting process through the town's Planning Board in 2017, she said. Construction may start by late 2017 and they will start using it in 2018.
The substation serves around 700 customers in East Wilton, Jay and part of Chesterville. A second larger substation on Flagstaff Street in Wilton serves 2,296 customers throughout the town, she said.
Transmission lines from the current substation are already present on the east side of the Hilton property. There is no room at the current substation to expand. The substation is located near a town ball field and behind Western Maine Community Action.
There are some residents that live near the substation, one selectperson said.
CMP may decide to tear down the house where the Hiltons once ran Wilton Lights, an automated Christmas light show, but the footprint of the substation would not be built that close to the road, she said.
Selectperson John Black asked if the town has any say about it.
As a utility, town ordinances do no prevent construction of a substation, Irish said, but the Planning Board can set restrictions, such as planting trees around it, to protect adjacent properties.
This is an infrastructure upgrade, not a huge substation, Maiuri said.
Neighbors recently expressed concerns about electromagnetic fields and potential health risks. CMP is agreeable to holding public meetings in August to listen to residents' concerns.
The electromagnetic field is negligible at the fence, Maiuri said they were told. Plans are for the fence around the substation to be over 300 feet from the corner of the fence to nearest resident, she said.
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