Neighbors upset about new electric poles in High Point

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Every time a community does something to expand or develop, there is usually someone who says, “Not in my backyard.”

In the case of what is going on in north High Point, it’s become, “Not in my front yard.”

“You cannot, in my opinion in this country, this great country we live in, take advantage of the citizens by doing what you want, when you want and then expect to come back and make it better later,” says Rick Moore, who lives along a section of Skeet Club Road. “That's not the way it works.”

The city says it’s simply fulfilling its duty by continuing to modernize and upgrade its electrical system. But doing that requires putting in a series of 100-foot high electrical transmission poles -- you’d be hard pressed to look out any window in town and not see one. But the folks who live along Skeet Club Road near Johnson Street say the city tried to put them up on their property without going through all the proper channels, when they put them on land the state Department of Transportation acquired to widen Skeet Club Road to handle its increased traffic flow.

The city empathizes with the homeowners about having the poles around, but doesn’t see a way out.

“We realize that these are not the most aesthetically pleasing devices to have in your yard,” says High Point City Manager, Randy McCaslin. “However, right now there are no options - no good options - the only option would be to bury the line.”

And that, McCaslin says, is beyond cost prohibitive. It would take a project that is already costing nearly $2 million and increase it to $5-$6 million.

The city usually gets its own utility easement or right of way for this kind of project but didn’t, in this case.

“High Point Electric can come in and they can more or less piggyback on our permit because their disturbance is very small, compared to what we disturb,” says Mike Mills of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Small solace for the homeowners who see the poles as more than a small disturbance, on top of the road widening.

“That was the lethal blow,” says Moore.

See why, in this edition of the Buckley Report.