Construction of power line irks some Lapeer County residents

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OREGON TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (03/06/15) - "I have absolutely no rights to my property now. I can't put a deck on the back. I can't put any shrubs in my front," said Karen Reame, a home owner dealing with a right-of-way issue.

Some property owners in Lapeer County are upset over the construction of a power line. They say the company building it is cutting down too many trees and stealing their rights.

ITC has been hired by DTE to construct a six-mile long power line in Oregon Township. To do it, the company needs a 150-foot wide right of way free of trees and bushes.

The transmission line will be needed to power a water treatment plant being built for the KWA water pipeline. Seven property owners have resisted ITC's demand to use their property for the power line, so they're being sued in Lapeer County Circuit Court.

A house at Marathon and Mt.Morris roads is surrounded by trees. ITC says it plans to cut down each and every one on the property within 75 feet of the road.

Homeowner Reame says ITC offered her $5,000 compensation to cut down all her trees and run the power line next to her house.

"I feel like we're being bullied. I'm just a single mom with my daughter living here and I can't do anything about this. They're just destroying the beauty of my entire property," Reame said.

Some property owners on Peters Road have a similar complaint. ITC won't tell them exactly where the power line will be on their land, but the company will be cutting down dozens and dozens of trees.

ITC says the transmission line project is an example of the company meeting the needs of its customers while grading Michigan's high voltage transmission system.

"It's a no-win situation, really," Reame said.

An attorney representing seven property owners says what ITC is offering them is woefully inadequate. Stephon Bagne is fighting back in court, demanding that the compensation needs to be increased substantially.

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