Land use is a critical siting criterion because of the different types of land uses. Of significance are woodlands, agricultural lands, developed lands, and lands used for parks and recreation. Woodlands, especially those used for forest production, can lose productive acreage created by the right-of-way. Some agricultural lands could be impacted, mainly by the footprint of the tower structure. Transmission lines can also affect field operations, aerial spraying, and field irrigation, as well as create opportunities for weed encroachment, and increase safety hazards associated with pole and guy wire placement. Property owner issues are often raised by individuals or communities along proposed transmission line routes. A common issue is one that involves property owner rights versus the public good.
Developed lands include lands used for residential, commercial, and industrial development. These lands should be avoided to the extent feasible during the siting process. The planning and siting of transmission lines through developed areas involves more detailed planning and public outreach to choose a final route. This added level of detail potentially results in delays or denials in approvals, and can significantly increase the cost of construction.
Local, state, and national recreational areas and parks should be avoided. The impact to these areas may result in the displacement or elimination of recreational uses. New recreational areas cannot be created within the boundaries of transmission lines, and the existing uses of the recreational areas could be changed. The aesthetic aspects of scenic and natural areas could also be impacted. In addition, unintended uses of right-of-ways for recreation activities, such as unauthorized ATV use, can occur.