Power plans upset Brookside community


Power plans upset Brookside community

 Tuesday, May. 5 | By James Ivancic

Carrie Kane, left, and Susan Weisenborne were among residents of the Brookside community who visited neighborhood sites that would be impacted by an electrical upgrade route option. Fauquier Times photo/James Ivancic
Residents of the Brookside community and others facing the prospect of electrical towers and overhead lines infringing on their property and lives took a road trip April 27 to areas that would be impacted.Maureen Riordan, a Brookside resident and Fauquier County School Board member, organized the outing to draw attention to the issue.The idea that a route option not favored by Dominion Virginia Power is being considered by the State Corporation Commission, over local protest, seemed to catch many in the neighborhood by surprise.
Residents, news media and Scott District Supervisor Holder Trumbo – a group of about a dozen in all – traveled by car to various points in and around the Brookside community, getting out to check maps and point out backyards, tree clusters and waterways that would be affected.

“I learned on very short notice a little more than a week ago” about the project route still being considered, Riordan earlier told the Fauquier Times. “The SCC won a ruling from an examiner that Dominion Power had to issue a re-notice on two variations of the A routes [between the Wheeler substation and Warrenton]. When I saw where this thing was going I thought, ‘Oh, my God!’”

She said wells could be effected by the construction of towers and Kettle Run High School and Greenville Elementary School face the prospect of transmission lines passing nearby. Trees would be lost as well.

She said a decision on the eventual route could come in August. She noted that the county sent a letter to the State Corporation Commission last September stating that the county supervisors didn’t want to state a preference for a route. Instead, their position was that if either Option A or C were chosen that the lines be placed underground. She pointed out that that in turn led the SCC staff to note that “Fauquier County’s letter filed in this docket does not indicate that the County would block or preclude the construction of Alternative A 2/3, or any other alternative, along its non-common open space easements.”

Trumbo told the Fauquier Times that at that time “Dominion was not pushing Option A. This is a new development from the SCC staff that Dominion and the folks watching this see is not viable and that the SCC sees has to be modified. I still don’t think it will work”

He said that he is “opposed to Option A and I am working with my board and speaking to them regularly about opposing this route.”

Ed Moore, developer of Brookside and president of Brookside Communities, said petition signing and letter writing campaigns are under way in an attempt to influence the decision makers in Richmond. He was part of the road trip group on Monday.

The travelers stopped at the home of Kim and Paul Tice and looked out their back windows at a treeline at the edge of the backyard.

“I’m in the easement,” Kim Tice said. She and her husband have lived in the home for 14 months.

“From what I hear we’d be lucky to get 50 percent of the value” of the house if they sold the house after transmission lines went up.

She said a line would go from her property to where Juan Archilla, who was also on the tour, lives.

He said he was first notified by letter in 2013 about the prospect of a Dominion project impacting his land. But then the utility decided that that route was “not feasible” and said its preference was an option that has less impact on routes and sensitive areas. But Dominion was directed by project application reviewers to consider the option that now has residents up in arms.

“The only reason we bought it was for the view,” said resident Susan Weisenborne of the home that she and her husband bought that backs to woods and Kettle Run. “We knew it would be protected,” or so they thought.

Carrie Kane, who lives across the street from the Weisenbornes, said her family “moved from Loudoun to get away from it all.” She said transmission lines concern her for health and safety reasons plus the impact on the value of her home. “We’re going to do what we can, write to whoever” to express their concerns.

This article came from Fauquier.com.

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