Denny Substation and Network Area Route Proposals
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The old Greyhound facility it will someday replace started demolition last week. This week, the public process begins for the $201.5 million Denny Substation project that, starting with the planned launch of construction in 2015, will create an important new Seattle City Light facility to keep up with predicted surging electricity demand in the South Lake Union, Cascade, Denny Triangle, Uptown, Belltown, and First Hill neighborhoods.
While the substation will be constructed at one gateway to the neighborhood, Capitol Hill’s concerns in the matter go a little deeper. Or, to be more, accurate — Capitol Hill’s concerns are up in the air. Way up in the air.
A proposed “overhead” route for the project’s transmission line calls for a chain of large, possibly 100-foot-high towers running up Capitol Hill via Denny Way then down 14th Ave, E Spruce and 12th Ave S. Needless to say, a few neighbors already notified by mail about this week’s upcoming meetings are a little concerned.
Here is how the project’s “Determination of Significance” document describes the 115 kilovolt transmission line:
“The transmission line would involve installing massive towers in a largely residential area,” writes Bryan Comstock in an email sent to CHS about the project.
The 15th Ave resident also sent pictures of what he said are a similar transmission line and towers that run along Delridge Way in West Seattle so we could “get an idea of what these towers would look like.”
“That alternative is certainly out there,” says Michael Jerrett of Seattle City Light about Denny Substation transmission line alternative #3 — also known as “the overhead route.”
Jerrett says the city’s preferences, however, are the first two alternatives — underground routes through downtown connecting the future substation at Denny and Stewarts to the S. Massachusetts substation near I-90:
The alternatives will be one of the hotter topics at a series of public meetings being held this week to as part of the environmental review of the massive, little-talked about project. The closest session to Capitol Hill turf comes Thursday with a 4:30 to 7 PM “scoping meeting” held at Seattle University’s 12th at Marion Alumni & Admissions building. The format of the meetings will be “open house” from 4:30 to 6 PM with an hour of “oral comment.” You can also provide comments via email SCL_dennysepa@seattle.gov.
DENNY SUBSTATION STATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (SEPA) PUBLIC SCOPING MEETINGS
City Light Holding Three Public Meetings Next Week
SEATTLE – Seattle City Light is in the early stages of building its first new substation in 30 years. The environmental review process is underway and the scoping period began on Monday, Oct. 8. Scoping is the first step toward developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and provides the public an opportunity to comment on potential impacts and alternatives to be considered.
City Light is holding three SEPA public scoping meetings to provide information about the project and to gather comments. Public Meetings will be held from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. on:
Monday, October 22
Seattle City Hall
Bertha Landes Room
600 Fourth Ave.
Wednesday, October 24
307 Westlake Ave. N
Thursday, October 25
Alumni and Admission Building
12th Ave. & E. Marion St.
All meetings will feature the same content and will include an open house from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. and an oral comment period from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Written comments can be provided at any point during the meeting.
The scoping period ends at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. The public is invited to submit comments at any time during this period. Send comments to:
- SCL_dennysepa@seattle.gov or
- Seattle City Light, Environmental Affairs Division, ATTN: Kathleen G Fendt, P.O. Box 34023, Seattle WA 98124-4023
The new substation will help City Light serve customers in the South Lake Union, Cascade, Denny Triangle, Uptown, Belltown, and First Hill neighborhoods, as well as customers throughout City Light’s service area.
While City Light is hopeful it will succeed in achieving one of the two underground alternatives, there’s a daunting amount of process to get through before the decision will be final. The paths would take the transmission line through downtown and the ID/Chinatown areas meaning disruptive digging and construction over several months in the city’s core.
Construction time for the underground route is expected to take from 24 to 30 months. The overhead route would only need 12 to 18 months to complete. It’s also cheaper to create the overhead line. Jerrett said estimates for the overhead alternative come in between $30 and $35 million. The underground estimates fall between $45 to to $50 million of the Capital Improvement Program-powered $201.5 million project total.
Meanwhile, 14th Ave is the best route if the overhead alternative needs to be part of the plan. “14th is a logical overhead route due to the Right of Way layout for a large portion of 14th where there are wider sidewalks and/or planting strips,” Jerrett said. “Furthermore, overhead is not an option in Downtown Seattle due to building heights.”
With those “Right of Way” assets, Jerrett said there would be no need for any private property to be vacated along the 14th Ave route.
If for some reason 14th Ave won’t work as the overhead alternative, Jerrett said an alternate route has “yet to be determined.”