BOUNTIFUL -- A power plant renovation project, expected to cost from $22 million to $25 million, took another major step forward when the city council unanimously granted preliminary and final site plant approval for the project.
The site plan approval allows local officials to move forward with building plans at Bountiful City Light & Power's existing plant at 253 South and 200 West. The plan involves removing two existing sections of the building and replacing them with new buildings and new natural gas generators.
The new structure will tie into the remainder of the existing building on the corner of 300 South and 200 West.
As part of the project, an old lumber building on 200 South will be demolished and a new dispatch and shop building will be built on the corner of 200 South and 200 West. The result will be a long building running north to south along 200 West.
Aric Jensen, city planner, said efforts have been made to try to make the long structure not look like a fortress.
Architect Chris Layton said planners have broken up some components of the building frontage and will try to make the old and new work together in the complex. That will be done using vertical and horizontal plane modulations along with a mixture of building materials and a mix of landscaping materials.
The council's site plan approval does come with some conditions.
Once the exact height of the new turbines is known, planners will be required to resubmit the proposed building elevations for approval by both the planning commission and the city council. Final landscaping plans will also need to be submitted for approval during the construction process.
Jensen noted there are some limitations on what landscaping can be done on the site, given the large conduits between the power plant and the BCL&P service facilities across the street.
Another key component of the site plan are plans for a new stormwater detention area on the corner of 200 South and 200 West and a new 6-foot-tall concrete wall, which will be installed along the entire east boundary, where the property adjoins the residential neighborhood.
Mayor Joe Johnson notes city officials are doing all they can to make the power plant upgrade as nice a structure as possible.
Two new turbines will be installed at the plant, which currently features internal combustion engines that burn a mix of diesel and natural gas.
The plan is to replace five of the older engines with the new turbines and to keep two other engines in operation as well.
The new turbines will be operated using natural gas. The new turbines are expected to cut emissions significantly at the plant.
The project is expected to range between $22 million and $25 million, before it is completed and online.
Last year, the council voted to issue $15.2 million in bonds to help provide financing for the project.
The bond package is being backed up by new utility revenues, which are being generated by a 5 percent rate increase that went into effect Dec. 1, 2010.
The bond will provide a majority of the funding for a $25 million project at the city's power generating plant. The remaining portion will come from capital reserve funds, said City Manager Tom Hardy.