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PECO project spurs preservation concerns in Bedminster


A major PECO upgrade project for local electric infrastructure has generated concern among Bedminster residents, regarding apparent consequences of loss of natural environment and historic preservation.

Speaking at the Sept. 14 public meeting of the Bedminster Township Board of Supervisors, residents particularly noted plans for the removal of significant numbers of trees in an especially appealing, bucolic part of the township on Carversville Road, as well as what they regarded as a clear threat to the historic Loux Covered Bridge there.

In an Aug. 17 letter to residents in the area, PECO described the project, named Piper 000 Unit Substation Retirement, as needed to “upgrade lower voltage circuits to higher voltages to better meet customer needs,” and featuring “installing new equipment, including poles, pad mount transformers, and aerial wires,” and possibly “including rear property pole lines.”

The project was further described as part of a broader company effort “to better withstand more frequent and damaging storms,” and locally, including “installing specialized equipment that can automatically restore service or isolate damage,” while “increasing the ability for customers to install clean energy sources.”

In Bedminster, work is “to occur along streets and sidewalks” of 17 roads, and in neighboring Plumstead, along nine roads. “Tree trimming work” is scheduled to begin in October, with construction beginning next spring for completion in the fall. Bedminster supervisors noted limited influence over a project that is proceeding under the auspices of the state Public Utilities Commission.

Also at the Sept. 14 township meeting, supervisors approved a Conservation Agreement of Sale for the 39.4-acre Campbell property on West Creek Road in Perkasie, including the right for the seller to retain about 2 acres for single family residential use. Township Manager Rich Schilling announced he would be attending a special meeting in October with Bucks County Commissioners to help arrange special funding assistance.

At their July 13 meeting, supervisors approved the sale and purchase of an Agricultural Conservation Easement for 106 acres of Goldenberg and Burland parcels along Sweetbriar and Slotter Roads. At that time, the supervisors “questioned why the state was paying 82.2% and the county was contributing only 3.5%” of the costs. The township portion amounted to $212,000, plus closing costs.