MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Commissioners met with Bill See during their Thursday afternoon session. See is the owner of Chapman Memorial Airport in Centerburg and was there to update the commissioners on the situation with Consolidated Electric.
The electric company wants to erect a three-phase back feeder line on Dill Road adjacent to the airport. These lines, if erected, would interfere with the airport runway and effectively put the airport’s commercial operation out of business. The airport is See’s sole source of income.
See gave the commissioners a brief outline of his flying experience and a brief history of the airport since he bought it. He then advised them of the latest developments.
“Essentially, what they are doing (by installing the lines) is a good thing,” See told the commissioners. “They are trying to back feed one substation to another substation. But what they are doing is coming down Dill Road which is on the east end of their service area. They determined where the public right of way was and staked out the area along Dill Road.”
Consolidated then sent See a letter saying that they were just in the planning stages and nothing had been formally decided about the routing of the lines. The lines would be considered an obstruction to the runway by the FAA if installed in the standard manner of 35 to 55 feet high.
See contends the power cooperative has an alternative to the above ground lines. He says the cooperative can bury the lines for a distance of about 600 feet with little or no impact on cost or operation of the lines.
Discussion centered around whether the Hilliar Township Trustees had the legal power to grant or deny the use of that public right of way.
The commissioners decided to get an opinion from the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office and voted to send a resolution of support for See to the board of Consolidated Electric.