Joe Higden expresses concern about the Town of La Plata’s granting of a right-of-way to SMECO for a transmission line.

La Plata, MD – The La Plata Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 24 to grant right-of-way to the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) for a transmission line despite concerns raised by property owners.

SMECO is proposing erecting a 70-foot pole near Hawthorne Drive in La Plata.

“My concern is the placement of this pole in the roadway,” said Joe Higden of Newburg. “The fear is, they’ve always intended to run this transmission line. Why build a substation without an easement?”

His brother also weighed in, telling the town, “You have no right to destroy our access. I ask you to give us consideration before you destroy what we have.”

“I understand the rationale based on comments made here tonight,” La Plata Mayor Roy Hale stated. “Is there any way to insure SMECO doesn’t take away property?”

“This is not saying it’s going to be an infringement on anyone’s property rights,” Town Manager Daniel Mears explained. “They [SMECO] will have to deal with those property owners.

“It is on the edge of the town’s right of way,” he added.

“We don’t want to impact property owners’ rights,” Hale said.

“SMECO will not be placing any pole on any right of way,” Mears reaffirmed.
“If it was in the middle it would be a problem,” La Plata Councilmember Keith Beck noted. “It is absolutely on the corner of his [Higden’s] property. “It should not impede construction in that area.”

“I think it’s how they interpret it,” Hale added.

The measure to approve the right of way was approved overwhelmingly by the town council.

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