Village Council Passes Lot Split for Substation; Location Still Undetermined

Staff Writer

At their Monday village council meeting, councilors passes a third reading on Ordinance 2019-5-11 planning commission lot split with land owned by Crown Equipment Corporation on the far side of the train tracks on North Herman Street between Crown and Speedway Lanes. This split was done in preparation for a new substation the village is planning to install that may go in that area.
There are two options on the board as of Monday’s meeting. Option one — the cheapest and most recommended by GDP Group who will be doing the installation — is the land currently owned by Crown. The second option — more expensive but father away from the residential area — is property currently owned by John and Ginny Voress. The Voress family has agreed to sell their land to the village for the new substation if that is what council chooses.
Option two is actually the third option recommended by GPD in their list of potential sites for the electric substation. Option two, which was the purchase of Topp property, was deemed impossible by the village after discussing the potential purchase with the landowner.
Residents of the northwestern portion of New Bremen — as well as some others — were in attendance at the meeting to voice their concerns about the substations  location.
Option one will cost the village roughly $4,924,211.63 while option two will cost roughly $6,180,312.53. With the purchase of option one, the village will only be purchasing .796 acres of land whereas option two will provide them with 3.346 acres. It should be noted that easement costs for option two are not yet figured into the $6.1 million figure as they are unknown at this point.
At the meeting, council presented attendees with information they collected from John Courtney, who is in charge of the rates residents and businesses pay for electricity, about how their bills will change under each option. The data compares seven various types of businesses and various types of residents — empty nester versus a family with children — with monthly and annual comparisons.
Option one assumes a $5 million loan with a rate increase of .005 per kiloWatt while option two assumes a $6.5 million loan with a rate increase of .0065 per kiloWatt. All of the information collected was based off of the most recent April electric bill.
Residents Ken and Rhonda Boyd — who live closest to option one’s location — said they believe the farther west option is the best choice as it puts more distance between the homes and the substation in case an emergency were to arise.
“All we’re asking is for you to do your best to move it out,” Rhonda Boyd said. “We’re looking at option [two] … we vote go for it. If it’s going to be on the furthest point of that property and you have growth for, what you said 10 years, you may need to be adding two substations … beyond 10, there’s options for growth on 3.346 acres that are there, as opposed to next to my house and the bowling alley.”
Many residents feared if the substation were to catch fire or a spark were to arch, the damage that could happen to surrounding residences. They also voiced concerns about the potential of cancer diagnosis down the road from being near the substation.
Mayor Jeff Pape cited a study completed by a component of the World Health Organization that appointed an expert working group to review all evidence on static and extremely low frequency (ELF) and electric magnetic fields (EMF). The study found that ELF-EMFs as, “‘possibly carcinogenic to humans,’ based on limited evidence from human studies in relation to childhood leukemia. Static electric and magnetic fields and extremely low frequency electric fields were determined ‘not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans.’”
The decision about where the substation will be built is still undetermined. That final vote will likely be completed by council members and next meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 24.
Various members at the meeting encouraged all residents to reach out to them before then to discuss any comments or concerns they have about either option.
Contact information for each council member can be found on the village website.