The new APS substation in Clarkdale is on a path to approval thanks to a Planning Commission decision Tuesday, but townspeople will still be able to voice recommendations about the substation at another Town Council meeting and an APS open house, according to Clarkdale Planning Manager Beth Escobar.
The Clarkdale Planning Commission voted to move APS’ application for a new substation on SR89A to the town council with a recommendation of approval, Escobar said. Tuesday’s meeting was a continuation of a public hearing that started on May 21..
The decision is a recommendation to council only, Escobar said. The council then can make a decision at its next meeting or table it. She anticipated the meeting would be on Aug. 13 and the public would have an opportunity to speak on the issue.
“We will send out notices and publish the meeting,” she said. “Public comment will be welcome.”
Twenty-seven people signed-in at Tuesday’s P&Z meeting and 10 people spoke to the commission, she said.
Most were concerned or against the proposal, Escobar said. “Pretty much the same comments we heard in May.”
During the previous meeting on the substation on May 21, about 50 members of the community gathered to hear a presentation by APS in the historic Clarkdale town buildings.
“We had 14 in opposition and one in support,” according to Escobar referring to the residents who spoke to the commission about the zoning change in May.
At that hearing, Escobar said the commissioners requested town staff to come back with information about the substation’s conformance with the town’s general plan, to research spot zoning concerns, look at the zoning history of the SR89A corridor between Clarkdale and Jerome and to provide aerial photos of the site.
APS wants to build a new substation to meet current and future energy needs and to support the two substations the electric utility already has in Cottonwood and Cornville, according to Ryan Weed, CVL Consultants
The site is 2.3 acres and will contain transformers that convert 69kV lines to 12 kV lines used to serve home and businesses, according to APS. The open-air facility will have a 10- to 11-foot tall wall surrounding the electrical equipment, according to Weed. APS has already purchased the property. The substation will be next to a new Verde Valley Fire District station, which has not been built yet, and between Number 1 Food Store the Arizona Botanical Gardens on the same side of SR89A.
One thing of note is that APS will be holding an “open house” before the council meeting, Escobar said. They don’t’ have a date yet, but they will be showing some of the renderings and will be getting design suggestions for the substations, she added