The Routt County Board of Commissioners has approved a zoning change that requires power lines to be buried underground in residential areas of the county. The city of Steamboat Springs already requires the same.
"I think the general consensus is if utilities are buried it's less unsightly and it probably adds to the property values," Commissioner Dan Ellison said.
The zoning change was prompted by complaints in the Stagecoach neighborhood. Power poles went up on County Road 16 in 1998. Then last year, several Stagecoach lot owners ran power lines to their property.
That's when the calls started coming in to the county's planning staff.
"The natural beauty of the area is hurt if you have overhead power lines going everywhere," said lot owner Chris Wittemyer.
And that was the gist of complaints from many Stagecoach owners.
"Even though it's more money up front, it's better in the long run," Wittemyer said of burying lines.
The zoning change requires that electrical lines of less than 25,000 volts, as well as telephone and cable television lines, be put underground in all subdivisions with lots of less than 35 acres.
All zoned districts would be covered by this new proposal, except agricultural/forestry, coal mining and flood control districts. And for those who already have plans to put up overhead lines to their property, forget it.
"If they haven't been constructed yet, they go underground," said Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak.
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