Members of the Vilonia Planning Commission told a handful of neighbors living nearby the proposed area for a new Entergy Sub Station, Thursday night, if it was being built in their backyards, they might not like it either. However, due to the city’s growth, a sub-station is essential.
"Regardless of where you put it, it is going to interfere with some people," said Commissioner Charlie Weaver, addressing a handful of Janski Lane neighbors who were asking the commission to consider their concerns prior to approving the proposed site plan.
Nearly an hour of discussion, the site plan and conditional use permit was approved and will be sent to the city council along with the commission’s recommendation they follow suit.
The neighbors said they weren’t opposed to the building of the sub-station but they didn’t see why it had to be in their backyards. Several times they mentioned a public hearing where, they said, they were under the impression the proposed sub-station was to be built on the opposite side of the sub-division.
Entergy officials said originally there were several proposals with the most feasible one being selected. It was estimated it could cost $750,000 to $1 million additional in funding, or possibly even more, should they have used the site across the highway, due to duplicating lines.
"It just seems like Janski Lane is being hit by a lot," said Sharon Clark. She talked about moving to her property several years ago to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Some of that, she said, was lost with the building of CUDD. Now, she said, she anticipates the sub-station will result in other issues.
"Well, we feel like we live in an industrial park," she said. Another resident Benny Bell said, "It’s like Janski is under an unlucky star. The peace and quiet is gone."
On that note, a part of the attraction to the property to house the proposed sub-station, Entergy officials said, is because it is zoned industrial. Also, "you got to go where the growth is," said Jim Garland, Entergy’s regional customer service manager. Bottom line, he said, the site choice was based on operational costs and needs.
Tommy Aureli, transmission right-of-way agent, told residents during construction there will be a lot of noise. When completed, the sub-station, he said, may produce a low, humming noise.
"But, once it has been there a year or so, you won’t notice it," he added. A sub-station was described as a large transformer that "steps higher voltage down to lower." The sub-station is to have three lines feeding off of it to serve the load in Vilonia.
On a daily basis, Entergy officials said no one will be working at the facility. The conditional use permit, approved by the commission, requires a 50-ft. natural buffer zone on the west side of the transmission line as well as additional shrubs. Also, the lighting must be directed to the substation which will be located inside a fenced area.