Homeowners in Coventry fight against more power poles on land - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Homeowners in Coventry fight against more power poles on property


A new project set to launch by Connecticut Light and Power could have a huge impact on a homeowner in Coventry. 

Bob and Deb Sherwood take great pride in their home, which they purchased 30 years ago. 

When they bought the house, five utility poles sat on the property and they agreed to an easement with CL&P, which made the property more affordable.

However, the Sherwoods never expected that one day three additional poles would pop up so close to their house.

"The assumption that the most that would happen would be a line upgrade, replace the poles," said Bob Sherwood.

It's all part of the interstate reliability project, which was approved at the beginning of this year. It's designed to strengthen the power grid in the state connecting direct routes to power sources.

The Sherwoods said they do support the project, but to have the "H" frame poles installed on their beloved property would be crushing.

"This is a major life-changing thing they want to do to us," said Bob Sherwood.

The Sherwoods said they also worry about potential health risks because of amount of electricity that would be running through the property. And when it comes to the dollars and cents, they're concerned their property value could tank.

"I just feel we're being steamrolled," said Bob Sherwood.

The Sherwoods told Eyewitness News they were surprised when they heard about the project just a few weeks ago. They said that CL&P sent a postcard, which might have been lost in the mix of mail, but they don't remember getting it.

They said they wish the power company had contacted directly.

"The problem that we have is this whole plan was done and approved without our knowledge," said Bob Sherwood.

But CL&P officials told Eyewitness News that it's not the case. They claim that they've been in touch since 2008 and even been out to the property to prepare for the project.

"We've been out there in a very aggressive way informing all of our customers about this project, all those that live along the right of way," said Frank Poirot, who is a spokesman for CL&P.

Bob Sherwood said they were there, but didn't tell them it was for the project.

"I feel they were trying to get this approved without any hassles," he said.

The Coventry Town Council sent a letter to CL&P expressing their concerns for the Sherwood's property. In the letter, they give a few solutions. 

First, they offered some town land to CL&P so they can build on their property.

The other suggestion was to buy the Sherwood's property, so they could build as they see fit. They also suggested they elevate the poles, so they aren't so close to the ground,  which they say may cut down health risks.

"When we found out in early June that this family had concerns about what we were building on the property we had our senior construction superintendent," Poirot said. "And several other people from the project meet with them to find out what are the concerns."

The looming threat of the drastic change to the property still leaves these homeowners feeling helpless.

"It's just - work with us don't just come in here and stick three poles in the middle of our yard and say this is the way it is," said Bob Sherwood.

The Sherwoods said they are still holding out hope they can come to an agreement that everyone can live with. 

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