A Vermont electrical transmission company wants to place a mountaintop tower on private property, to improve communication between its line workers. The owners claim they will not be able to use their property in the fashion they contemplated.
Unfortunately for the owners, a challenge to the necessity of this taking will likely fail. Power lines are considered traditional public uses. Although this is a communications tower—not an actual power line, courts are likely to defer to the utility’s argument that this tower is necessary to deliver electricity to the public.
The issue at trial will be just compensation—i.e. whether placement of an 80-foot tower diminishes the value of the property such that the utility must purchase the entire parcel.
The Vermont Electric Power Company is asking the Public Service Board to authorize the condemnation of the property owned by artists Olga Julinska and Felix Kniazev, who had hoped to use the area as an art school.
VELCO wants to erect an 80-foot communications tower at the location to enhance radio communication with line crews.
VELCO lawyer Leslie Cadwell says the project should not interfere with the landowners' use of the mountain.
But Julinska tells Vermont Public Radio they wouldn't be able to use their property any more.
Her attorney says the project is not consistent with residential use.