Wed, Feb. 19

Editorial: APS substation will not ruin neighborhood

Nothing stirs the pot in the Verde Valley like a proposal for a new electrical substation or a cell tower.

In recent weeks, it’s been a new Arizona Public Service electrical substation in Clarkdale that sparked the ire of many local residents. This one involved a rezoning of residential property APS had purchased.

That prompted cries of foul play. Opponents claimed the substation represented an industrial intrusion into a residential neighborhood.

Never mind the fact the property had set vacant for as long as anyone could remember. It was zoned residential. Any use other than that and there goes the neighborhood.

In the end, the mayor and council majority sided with APS. In social media circles, they’re currently the most-hated elected officials in the Verde Valley — or at least among a vocal group of Clarkdale residents.

If you change the names and replace a cell tower for an electrical substation, the past week’s events in Clarkdale play out like an old re-run of Gilligan’s Island.

In 2016, it was a proposed cell tower abutting a residential area along State Route 89A that had everyone up in arms in Clarkdale. Again, the argument about industrial intrusion was raised, as was the fact that cell tower, like the APS substation, was an eyesore. Further, and again like an APS electrical substation, cell towers emit some kind of electro-magnetic waves that will make you so sick, you’d wish you were dead.

When the meeting was over, all these cell tower protestors immediately got on their cell phones. When they got home, they plugged their cell phones into a charger connected to an electrical outlet with power provided by an APS electrical substation.

But let’s not pick just on Clarkdale today.

We saw the very same storyline play out in Cornville in 2008 when APS purchased a two-acre property just off Cornville Road right across from the then-local landmark otherwise known as Casey’s Corner. That land originally had been acquired and rezoned for a strip mall development that never materialized.

Locals were outraged. One resident launched a petition drive and got signatures from 150 residents in Cornville who said the substation would “ruin Cornville” and “scar the rural landscape.”

Fast forward a decade. Most folks in Cornville don’t give the APS substation a second thought today. The honest assessment is that it turned out to be an unobtrusive property improvement that dramatically improved delivery of electrical service to the community.

That same can be said today about that “horrible” cell tower they planted in Clarkdale. Do folks really see it as something that wrecked the neighborhood? Or, are they just too busy with their 4G-network cell phones to notice it.

Give this new APS electrical substation in Clarkdale a little time and the dust will settle on it, too.

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