The latest news on the Dominion Virginia Power Line Project Haymarket affecting Gainesville and Haymarket VA …
If you haven’t been following the news on the proposed Dominion power lines through Gainesville and Haymarket closely, here are the recent developments. The project proposes the installation of 100-foot-high towers carrying 230,000-volt power lines from a Gainesville substation to a new substation just outside the Town of Haymarket. It would support a larger data center complex on the VAData (a subsidiary of Amazon) site, where one large data center is already operating.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) just announced on July 14th that it will reconsider its Carver Road route decision, which would have allowed power lines to cut behind Buckland Mills Elementary and through historic land that has been owned for more than a century by descendants of a freed slave (shown as Affected Neighborhood in graphic courtesy of Washington Post).
According to a Washington Post article (7/2/2017), the two warehouse-sized data center buildings that VAData plans to build in Haymarket are part of a wave of data center construction that, industry supporters say, will help strengthen the local economy. Dominion has claimed that the power lines are also necessary to serve the area’s growing population, which has been controversial.
Three routes were considered during this process: a route along the freight railroad tracks behind Somerset and Greenhill Crossings, a route along I-66 (either above ground or a hybrid route buried in some places), or the Carver Road option.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors and organized coalition groups favored the I-66 buried route, which would have the least impact on residents.
The SCC, which regulates utilities, rejected the I-66 options, saying the hybrid route was too expensive and the above ground option would affect too many homes.
The SCC, which then favored the railroad route over the Carver Road option, ordered Dominion to request Prince William County’s permission to use land that is protected as natural wetlands along that route. The PWC Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected that request in June in hopes that the I-66 hybrid route would be reconsidered.
In late June, the SCC authorized Dominion Virginia Power to seize land through eminent domain to make room for the towers along the Carver Route, the chosen route by default (see graph above).
Motions for reconsideration were submitted by coalition opposition groups that challenge the “need” that serves as the basis of Dominion’s application. The need, they argue, is driven by a single retail customer (VAData) and with absence of need, they believe Dominion should not have the authority to take private property through eminent domain.
These motions led to SCC July 14th announcement to reconsider, and that is the latest news. Contact the Gainesville and Brentsville District Supervisors at www.pwcgov.org/government/bocs for more updates or visit The Coalition to Protect Prince William County at www.protectpwc.org for in-depth details.
UPDATE 8/3/2017 – Since the story was published in the 2017 Summer print version of Haymarket Homeowner, there have been developments. Our PWC Board of Supervisors passed a resolution questioning the need for the Haymarket project, at their final meeting of the summer – unanimous by voting members (Supervisor Caddigan was absent). See: PWC Board passes unanimous resolution challenging NEED for Haymarket project to learn more about this and other developments.
RELATED: See Haymarket Area Summer Events & Day Trips 2017
See this article and others in the Summer 2017 Print copy of Haymarket Homeowner.com.
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