Group of County residents opposed to utility’s plans for Iatan-to-Nashua line
In the fall of 2011, a group of Platte County landowners formed Concerned Citizens Against KCP&L Segment 62. The organization was mobilized to combat Kansas City Power and Light’s (KCP&L) proposal to build a new power line. The utility’s plans call for the line to run northeast from Iatan, across Highway M and parallel to Highway H as it travels east. It then crosses both Interstate 29 and Highway EE before turning southeast into Clay County to a substation in Nashua. It would cross directly through New Market and just to the south of Dearborn.
At the time, the Concerned Citizens group said the new line posed possible health concerns to area residents and threats to land values and the environment and suggested KCP&L should instead make improvements to its existing infrastructure instead of constructing a new line. It also suggested other route options would be more feasible and less costly to KCP&L customers. The group also vowed it would not negotiate with KCP&L concerning easement settlements for the land it requires.
“We’re going to make it as hard for KCP&L as we can,” said Concerned Citizens president Chris Dutoit in a Feb. 8, 2012 report published in The Citizen.
Flash forward to the present, where a legal battle is looming between those Concerned Citizens landowners, other County landowners and KCP&L.
On July 17, KCP&L filed a lawsuit in Platte County Circuit Court stating its intent to procure, by eminent domain, easements on the land it needs to build the new line. The legal action asks for the Court to condemn numerous parcels of property which would result in permanent easements for the utility. A copy of the legal notice appears on page B8 of this issue and will also be published in the July 31 and Aug. 7 issues of The Citizen. A hearing on the case is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6 at the Platte County Courthouse.
Despite its legal action, KCP&L said it still hopes to reach a settlement with the landowners in question.
“KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company recently filed a condemnation action against several Platte County landowners,” KCP&L spokesperson Katie McDonald said. “KCP&L reached a voluntary settlement with most, but not all, landowners. As always, we remain committed to working with the parties and hope that the matter may be resolved amicably.”
McDonald said KCP&L’s “Iatan to Nashua” project consists of three distinct phases. In the first two phases, KCP&L obtained voluntary settlements from approximately 90 percent of landowners. She said in the third phase, currently underway, KCP&L has secured voluntary agreements with approximately 53 percent of landowners. Including all three phases, McDonald said, KCP&L has settled with 81 landowners and 29 have not to this point been settled.