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Middletown, N.J. Residents Don't Want High-Voltage Power Line In Their Backyard

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Hundreds of residents in Monmouth County, New Jersey have come together over Facebook and in person, in opposition to a plan proposed by a local power company.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, the Middletown residents said they are prepared to fight against Jersey Central Power and Light's proposal to put a 230,000-volt power line behind their homes.

"I bought my dream house 12 years ago," said Bernice Curto of Middletown. "I worked hard in order so that we could have this beautiful home."

Curto said she and her neighbors were informed of the plan only a few weeks ago.

"If this happens, our dream will become a nightmare," she said.

The Monmouth County Reliability Project would run along railroad tracks of NJ TRANSIT's North Jersey Coast Line, connecting a substation in Aberdeen to one in Red Bank by going through Hazlet, Holmdel, and Middletown.

Residents fought a similar plan 20 years ago and won – never thinking it could happen again.

"If we all have to lay down in tracks and stop that train, because another thing, New Jersey Transit is the one we have to get after," said Virginia Rioso of Middletown.

JCP&L said the tracks were chosen because the land is already designated for public use. A spokesman for the energy company said the project is needed to keep 214,000 customers with power.

"Having 140-foot power poles with high-voltage lines running back, we're never going to sell our house for what we paid for it," said George Kouvaras of Middletown.

Many of the homes on Rolling Knolls Drive are less than 200 feet from the tracks, and residents are also concerned about losing their trees.

A total of 375 properties will be affected along the 10-mile route.

"I'm going to want to leave, and I'm not going to be able to, because who would buy a house with these wires over their house?" said Kathryn Viggiani.

"We're losing money, there's potential health risks involved – so it's losing proposition for us," added Kouvaras.

JCP&L still needs to submit an application to state regulators with the proposed plan. There is a town meeting in Middletown June 22 on the topic.

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