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Substation proposed north of George’s Corner

KINGSTON — Much like the concerns with the infamous Hansville generator the past several years, residents in the Three Berry Lane subdivision, off Hansville Road, are just as concerned about an electrical power substation becoming one of their neighbors.

Puget Sound Energy has purchased a parcel of land at the corner of Three Berry Lane and Hansville Road, with hopes of building a substation there to help meet the electricity needs of the growing communities of Hansville and Kingston. The proposed location is 1/4 mile north of George’s Corner, on Hansville Road.

“That seems to be a pretty fair, practical approach,” said PSE planning engineer Kebede Jimma about the location. “In the end, we want to build a cost efficient project.”

The substation is expected to be about 40,000-square feet in size, said project manager Pete Cossette, and would include a transformer that converts the power before it’s distributed to individual homes within the North End electric grid. Four miles of transmission lines from the Miller Bay substation to the new Kingston facility are also expected to be installed.

Cossette anticipates a six-month permitting process with the Kitsap County Department of Community Development which would include obtaining a conditional-use permit and a four to six month construction period.

“All the tests that we’ve done show (the location) to be ideal,” Cossette said.

If the project gets the OK for construction from the county, it will be the first substation to be installed in the area in 20 years.

Currently, there are three substations in the North End, serving 15,000 PSE customers — at the corner of Miller Bay and Gunderson roads; west of Port Gamble, next to Salisbury Park; and at the corner of State Route 104 and Bond Road. A distribution center at Gunderson and Bond Road, which allots power to the substations.

The utility company wants community input on the chosen location. If there are no issues raised, it would apply to the county for a preliminary application for construction permits just after the first of the year.

But Cossette and his team will most likely run into some road blocks — several residents of Three Berry Lane attended the meeting Wednesday night with questions about being neighbors with a substation.

Residents Scott and Kara Coykendall, who live at the end of the street, have concerns, including the strength of the power field emitted by the substation, as Kara uses a power wheelchair to move around; noise from the substation affecting the animals in the neighborhood, such as resident sheep and horses; if PSE plans to pay dues to the homeowners association since it is now a property owner within the neighborhood; and impacts to the neighborhood street, which is gravel.

“If they don’t put in a separate driveway, it’s going to tear up the road,” Scott said.

Gary Olsen, president of the homeowners association for Three Berry Lane, has concerns about the potential health impact on residents, but he is primarily upset about the process in which the company went about developing the project.

While the association and PSE met during the summer after PSE purchased the property, “we never got a follow up,” he said. “No effort was made to re-contact us on the status of our concerns.”

The crux of the situation, Olsen believes, is that it sounds like the selection process for the property was not very thorough. While he said he understands that the company wanted to centrally locate the substation, other more industrial-friendly sites were only 1.5 miles north on Hansville Road.

But PSE told him it would cost an additional $1 million to move it up that far, which feels like a “slap in the face” to the residents to not move it for that reason, he said.

And if the county rejects PSE’s application for permits for the property, where will PSE go next, Olsen asked, adding that the company doesn’t seem to have a back up plan.

“We don’t fault the value of building another substation,” Olsen said. “But what about other sites that are more user-friendly?”

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