No decision on a recommended route for will be taken Tuesday night, the city attorney said Monday.
An unexpected 60-day delay in the hearing process before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission means that the city has until October to decide how to respond to , said City Attorney Alan Kesner.
Kesner and some aldermen had been pushing for a consensus recommendation on a route down Walnut Road, opposed by most residents of that neighborhood.
But the delay has given the city more time to consult with engineers about possible alternative routes or modifications to that route, Kesner said.
With that, Tuesday night's hearing before a meeting of the Common Council's Committee of the Whole, at 6:30 p.m., becomes more of another listening session, Kesner said. The power line question is not on the agenda of the full, regular council meeting, which follows at 7:30 p.m.
Kesner had asked for a council resolution . That was as opposed to the line being buried in the city and utility right-of-way under the front lawns of residents on the north side of the street, which would have caused permanent loss of trees.
Neighbors were still unhappy, though, about the part of the plan that calls for new "drop structures" much closer to Walnut Road and to neighbors' properties, that would bring the lines down from overhead towers at 120th Street.
Kesner said he would offer some alternatives Tuesday that might help address those concerns, although, he said, engineer's responses to those ideas were not yet definitive.
The added time will allow for more exploration of alternatives, Kesner said. But eventually, the city needs to make a recommendation that is in line with other "intervenors" including Milwaukee County.
The city and county have gone on record with resolutions opposing any route that involves overhead lines, anywhere. Wauwatosa in its resolution also opposed a route along Walnut Road that involved burying the 138,000-volt line in residents' front yards.
That resolution also specifically mentioned as objectionable the new drop structures, towers that would be highly visible from Walnut Road and that would encroach on homeowners' property lines.
We Energies has said that the new power line, one of two proposed to serve the County Grounds area, is necessary because increasing demands will overtax the existing power feed to critical users such as the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center by 2015.
We Energies contracted with American Transmission Co. to study, propose, design and build two new power routes into the area, one from the south and one from the west, to provide redundancy.
ATC came back last year with two alternatives, one of them the Walnut Road route buried under the public right-of-way, the other overhead on towers that would be built along more than a mile of Underwood Creek Parkway.
Groups in both areas strongly opposed those alternatives and prompted the city to seek other options.