GRANT ROAD COALITION, CENTRAL SEGMENTS information for neighbors
"Central Segments" - from 1st Ave to Tucson Blvd the most "residential" sensitive section of the entire Grant Road Project
2020 New Concerns for the Grant Road Corridor - 138Kv poles
Early in 2019 TEP began discussions with the community about transmission lines which were to be installed from the substation at Kino and 36th and the substation at Grant and I-10. By September 2020 after many TEP meetings neighborhoods began to push back against TEP's overhead 138Kv poles.
UNDERGROUND COALITION WHITE PAPER, 9/2020
11/4/2020 M/C study session meeting re undergrounding Placed on the agenda by Steve Kozachik
Screen shot from 11/4 M/C Study session, shared by TEP CEO Sandra Grey
WHY SHOULD THE MEMBERS OF THE GRANT ROAD COALITION BE INVOLVED IN THE UNDERGROUND COALITION? At first TEP was considering many routes. As of the Nov 4 presentation to Mayor and Council the options for the lines is reduced, however, now all options include Grant Road. Two of the options include routes bisecting the Jefferson Park neighborhood. The Campbell route impacts GRC members, Blenman/Elm, Catalina Vista, and Jefferson Park. TEP has not yet decided upon which side of Grant Road will be chosen. This now makes it a concern of GRC members Sugar Hill, SAMOS, Mountain/First, Jefferson Park
WHO ARE THE UNDERGROUND COALITION? In 2020 August/September the Underground Coalition was formed. This group is lobbying for undergrounding all lines. They have submitted several papers to TEP challenging some of the notions that the lines can not be undergrounded. Members of the group are: Feldmans, Iron Horse, Jefferson Park, Pie Allen, Rincon Heights, Sam Hughes, West University, and the The Historic Fourth Avenue Coalition
11/4 CITY STUDY SESSION RESPONSE TO UNDERGROUNDING on U-tube. The November 4 Mayor and Council study session discussed the issue with TEP CEO, Sara Gray. To view the segment, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6bbD7xwauY. Go to time stop 4:19:58. The session raised questions from Jefferson Park which were addressed to Councilman Kozachik and Council Cunningham: After you view, see below Kozachik's answer to the questions:
UNDERGROUNDING THE POLES – NEIGHBORHOOD QUESTIONS RESULTING FROM THE 11/4 STUDY SESSION JP addressed clarifying question to Steve Kozachik. His response: NOTE: The term “SELUP” means the special exception land use permit that TEP will be seeking for the UA substation.
Steve Kozachik <Steve.Kozachik@tucsonaz.gov> Sun 11/8/2020 7:59 PM I'll try to address those issues. The very short message is that the city's role is extremely limited by state law. Ultimately the ACC will decide on the route. My intent in bringing this forward was to force a more public conversation about undergrounding options. To date the utility has simply dismissed that as being unaffordable, unless the residents want to pay for it. That's not going to happen. A Utility District is not going to be formed.
1. Does the City have any power to "slow down" the process? As to slowing down the project, we don't have that authority. They can call off the public engagement whenever they want and proceed with the SELUP and the ACC siting committee. As with the undergrounding conversation, my intent was to let them know I believe wider conversations needs to happen, and hope to gather some M&C support for that. But we cannot block their progress to the commission if that's the route they choose to take.
Yes, they will have to come to us for the special exception, but their plan is to do that simultaneously with going to the ACC with their route identified. I told them before the meeting that the timing appeared intended to truncate our voice, and that's why I brought the study session item as soon as I did. When we do the SELUP, I suppose we can vote it down, and that could be a way of slowing the process, but my sense is that they'd simply find a legislative solution which may hurt our ability to weigh in on any of these going forward. Again, my hope was to catalyze a deeper conversation, realizing that they hold the trump card.
3) Can/will the City put the issue of the rate increase to a M&C vote? We can pass a Resolution related to the rates, but the ACC decides. Our Reso would have no weight in law.
2) Can/will the City pass an ordinance/referendum like the one mentioned in the meeting that prohibits the overhead lines? I'm not sure if we have the authority to pass an ordinance prohibiting overhead lines, but if we did I can 100% assure you they'd simply go to the state legislature and get a bill passed that pre-empts local authority. I also don't think we'd find 4 votes on the M&C to adopt it - and I'm positive we wouldn't get that done before they get this in front of the ACC, if it was possible and legal at all.
4) Can/will the Mayor and Council have a vote on the issue of the Special Land Use Permit The SELUP will come to M&C b/c I'm going to ask for a public hearing after the Zoning Examiner hearing. Any 'party of record' can request a public hearing. Right now TEP is taking the position that we don't even have a voice. W/o that request for the public hearing, they'd be right. I intend on not letting it die in front of the ZE, though.
b) If ACC ruled that TEP could become an underground utility, how might that happen? Your question about how TEP becomes an underground utility is exactly one of the points I've put in my newsletter for tomorrow (Monday.) If they lack that authority, then let's find the legal route to getting it to them. We can partner. But I don't think that's even true. I have the transcript from their earlier testimony before the ACC on this case and they addressed the possibility of undergrounding some distribution lines in order to reduce clutter. I did bring that up at a different part of the study session. If they can't underground, then why did Ed Beck make that statement in front of the ACC.
Litigation comment: And they have not factored into their cost projections for undergrounding the cost for diminution of value litigation. That can become significant. And that will be spread among all ratepayers, so the council members who felt one part of town is subsidizing other parts of town to pay for undergounding simply aren't thinking about those litigation and settlement costs. Or maybe everyone just thinks they're a bluff. I don't know - but I know there are a lot of affected homeowners who are talking about a 10% drop in property value.
Path forward? You already know about the mtg on the 16th. Take part and bring some pointed questions. If nothing else, the study session discussion brought into public some issues they have been able to contain in the zooms they've been hosting up until now. Stevek
Kozachik's 11/7 Newsletter article re undergrounding the lines: TEP will have to come to M&C for what’s called a Special Exception Land Use approval. That only relates to the substation located at Banner. And it only relates to that precise site, not any of the aesthetics of the proposed alignment that will terminate there. Last Wednesday I had a study session item in which I raised several points that I believe TEP needs to roll into their plans. I was pleased to have Cunningham’s strong support. I’ll summarize the points I made.
First, even TEP concedes there will be a drop in property values when their 100’+ tall poles go up near residences. They estimate about a 9% drop in value. At no time have they calculated that lost value, and litigation for recouping a diminution in value into their project costs. Here’s a real seat-of-the-pants low ball of what that might look like; 1,000 houses valued at $150,000, losing 10% of that value. That’s $15,000 x 1,000 = $15M. While testifying before the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) about this project in 2018, TEP said “we also realize that in order to get a project done, at times you do have to go with the more expensive option.” That more expensive option may be undergrounding some or all of this project.
While in front of that same Corporation Commission committee in 2018, TEP discussed undergrounding ‘distribution poles’ - those are the smaller ones that you already see around the City. Why would they do that? Because, as they testified, “the input we got from the public was ‘we don’t want any more lines.’ “ They’re hearing the same thing now. If there’s a compromise to be had, some level of undergrounding has already been identified by TEP as one possible conversation point that has not happened during the public meetings to any productive level.
As to the point I made about possible litigation over lost property value, TEP addressed that as well. During that 2018 ACC subcommittee meeting, one of the committee members said “it’s considerable that property owners would say that their remaining property has been made less valuable, and might want to claim damages due to the diminution in value, which are severance damages. That’s conceivable?” TEP responded, “Oh, absolutely, yes.” Ok, then let’s include those costs into the cost estimates for undergrounding and see if the impact they’re threatening on all ratepayers is real, or to what amount it’s reduced when all costs are factored in. Certainly, if there’s litigation, that cost will be spread among all ratepayers – just as the cost for undergrounding will be. And TEP told the ACC subcommittee that increase in cost will be “very small” because it’s absorbed “into our overall rate base.”
There has been no public discussion about how overgrounding the new lines might affect future streetcar routes. Also, TEP suggested that unless someone else paid for it, they cannot do undergrounding. If that’s the case, we need to slow down this whole process and address that in whatever legal way is needed. This is a unique project that will impact the City for decades. As planned it degrades the Kino Parkway corridor – the ‘Welcome Mat’ we invested millions of dollars into for people coming into town from the airport. And it will invite significant property value loss further upstream, which only means more costly litigation. --- I believe there’s much more of a conversation to be had than what we’ve heard to date.
GRANT ROAD COALITION - Meeting Schedule Future Meetings will be posted here
Current Project the Grant Road Health and Heritage Linear Trail
All interested stakeholders invited to attend. This is a coalition comprised of residents, neighborhood leaders and businesses--all who care about preserving the quality of life of people effected by the Grant Road Project from 1st to Tucson Blvd. Phases 2 and 5/6.
SEE THE PROGRESS TOWARD A LINEAR HEALTH/HERITAGE TRAIL under "PROPOSALS/PROJECTS" tab Read the history of grants and partnerships to bring this vision to reality
UA Landscape Graduate class submits first images of Park Concept for Remnants http://www.jeffersonpark.info/landscapes.html Six landsacpe designs were created by the graduate class in landscape design taught by Margaret Livingston, Ph.D., Professor of Landscape Architecture, College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture. Those were presented at a public meeting Nov 28, 2017. The plans are now posted to the Jefferson Park website, at the link above, for all to see and comment upon.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAMPBELL/GRANT INTERSECTION - A WHITE PAPER The Grant Road Coalition has engaged five contiguous neighborhoods in a creating a vision for the development of the SE corner of Campbell and Grant. The proposal strongly advises an eco-friendly design that complements the Linear Park Vision and is compatible with the residential nature of the surrounding area. See the entire white paper under the PROPOSALS/PROJECTS tab
TIMING FOR THE CENTRAL SEGMENTS and CENTRAL CENTERS will happen in two different time frames.
Phase 2 -2015 to 2018, from Stone to just east of Park (Santa Rita) which impacts Jefferson Park Neighborhood
Phase 5/6 - from Santa Rita to Country Club which impacts Jefferson Park again, and SAMOS, Campbell/Grant, and Catalina Vista neighborhoods may not begin until 2026! (per Grant Road Task Force Meeting Oct 19, 2017)
This very long break in time places extra stress on the residential neighborhoods bordering the construction
THE COALITION is an advisory committee authorized by their respective neighborhoods to represent neighborhood interests in talks with the city specifically about the Grant Rd Project. The coalition works to create a dialogue between project administrators and neighborhood residents. The coalition addresses such issues as: Noise mitigation * Visual mitigation * Green Space * Demolition Issues * Loss of Historic Homes * Closure of neighborhood streets Bike and pedestrian safety DISCUSSIONS are around TWO MAIN TOPICS Grant Road Alignment Issues - the actual path the 6 lane road will take Land Use Issues - what will happen to vacant land after the roadway has been cut. i.e. will it be green space, commercially developed, have buffers, berms etc? NOTE: Per the amendment to the Grant Road Vision Statement all remnant parcels in the Central Segments (First to Tucson Blvd) will have no overlay, no change in zoning. i.e. R-1 will remain R-1 zoning, NR-1 will remain NR-1.
THE GREAT WIDENING - A SLIDE SHOW- This power point was created by S. Studd, of Mountain/First neighborhood. it was presented on August 22 to neighbors and stakeholders who wanted to review what has happened in the past 2+ years of neighborhood involvement in the Grant Road widening process. Published for your review below.
Karin's Uhlich's e-mail of support to Tucson Mayor and City Manager!!!
(July 16, 2017) Regarding our ongoing conversation and next steps for the park space along Grant road, I want to update you and confirm the City's support:
1) PAG is continuing to work with us on funds for the Heritage and Health trail (involving Banner, Jefferson Park and area neighborhoods; we need to sustain the City's commitment (already approved as an exception by RTA/PAG given City plans to keep it as Park) to HOLD AND NOT MARKET/SELL the remnants between 1st and Campbell (Tucson) as leverage for the project. While the National Parks grant did not come through, there are opportunities for funding (state and federal) that are being pursued. 2) see below; the State Dept of Forestry has encouraged applications from PAG/City/JP. The first small grant proposal is next FRIDAY under their TREES program and must be submitted under the auspices of the City. JP is drafting and we will get that to Mike's office to submit (I am assuming no other City proposals are in the queue; let me know) 3) PAG/Farhad has agreed to serve as lead and submitter of other proposals (with City as key supporter/collaborator. Could you please confirm through a reply to this email that this will be our plan moving forward? Through we did not secure the National Parks Grant we can also resubmit next year and it is clear we can identify other potential funding sources to fulfill the exciting and meaningful vision for this area. I know we share the desire to demonstrate that corridor redevelopment can be integrated with appropriate land use that preserves value and enhances quality of life for urban residents. This project is a valuable chance to enact that principle, in-keeping with both City and RTA goals. Karin