Dozens of upset Carmel residents packed the room at the Carmel Educational Services Building to voice disapproval of Duke Energy’s plan to build power lines to feed a new substation along Rohrer Road.
Neighbors expressed concerns about tree removal, unsightly poles and cancer potentially caused by proximity to lines.
Carmel Fire Dept. officials handed out tickets at the Nov. 6 Carmel City Council meeting because seats were full and space was standing-room only.
Carmel resident Sue Dillon spoke at the meeting, telling the crowd how she worked years ago with local utilities when it came to extending the Monon Greenway through Carmel. She said she hopes Duke will decide on a plan that preserves the Monon’s aesthetics.
“Protecting the natural features of our community is in everyone’s best interest, including the utilities,” she said. “Is there possibly a less destructive location for this substation or does it have to go there?”
After residents spoke, city council members said they agree with the crowd but feel their hands are likely tied because of state laws regarding utilities.
“Unfortunately, I have no say in the matter, but I couldn’t agree with you more,” city councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider said. “We’re all assuming that Duke is going to try to challenge us there. What we need now is everybody to contact your state legislators and give local municipalities some teeth. So we agree, and we wish we could do more.”
City councilor Ron Carter said it’s important to protect the Monon “at all costs.”
“We may bring to council an ordinance that will allow us to do some things we thought we might not have been able to do,” he said. “So I guess to all, ‘Stay tuned.’”