Bull Run Observer – Some speakers hit on protecting property values and local landscape at second round of power line hearings

By Terri L. Erwin-Fitz (Observer staff)

The State Corporation Commission held its second day of hearings on Dominion Power’s Haymarket Substation and 230kV project on March 14 at 4:30 and 7:00.

At 5:30, there had been approximately 50 people who signed up to testify, many returning after having to leave during the first day of hearings due to weather.

Though testimonies still conveyed angst in property values, view, damage to landscape, etc., during the first day of hearings most people who testified spoke on the tenant of the client (mentioned repeatedly as Amazon but not verified) paying for the project and maintaining that the I-66 hybrid option was the only option.  Many people also testified for the same at the second hearing, but many also testified to protect their property, if in fact. the SCC decided on the alternative route, which has been done in the past.

Mr. Feter, of the Antioch Road area, testified against the New Road Alternative Route.  His story is one of the American dream.  A legal immigrant who escaped communism (he) said that owning property in his native land was “only a dream.”  When he purchased property with trees all along the property, his wife was “elated.”  He said the New Road route would take out two-thirds of the trees on his property.

Feter, a mathematician and scientist, argued that Dominion representatives were “disingenuous” during meetings about lines swelling and he argued that copper lines do not swell.  He also argued the cost of burying the lines that shorter distance would make the project “cheaper.”

He did bring up his belief that putting the data center in Haymarket instead of Innovation Park, a few miles away, would make Amazon’s ability to fly drones out easier.

He commented that in Europe, all transmission lines are buried and if they can do that in Europe we should be able to do that in America.

William Kingsley, a Heritage Hunt resident, said that disturbing the beautiful landscape would be “sacrilege” and echoed the sentiment that the lines should be buried and Amazon should pay.

Del. Tim Hugo testified that he has “deep, deep concerns” about the project, calling the location of the data center “improper.”  He called on the SCC to take into account that the data center does “not fit.”

Chuck Cardihan, from the Town of Haymarket and who lives in Longstreet Commons, said that all residents in his community will have a view of the above ground lines if they are approved.  He called the placement of the data center “ill-conceived.”

Brian Dolslegar, of Bristow, spoke on behalf of Evergreen Golf Club and Evergreen Estates, stating that the community should not be disturbed and lines should be buried and be routed on I-66 and should not “adversely” effect property owners.

Joe Pasanello, of Haymarket, thanked hearing commissioner Richardson for his patience and time and said that overhead lines would be an “existential threat” to residents.  He also requested an additional time to be added to the May 2 hearing date, which is currently only set at 7 p.m.  He requested a 4:30 time be added.

He said the project is “shattering the American dream” of many residents by raising profits of large companies on the backs of private citizens.

In a change from the last hearing, Richardson recessed at 6:20 p.m. with people still waiting to be heard from the 4:30 session.  He said that staff needed to get dinner, as during the last hearing date, the times rolled into one another and staff did not get to eat until late in the evening.

The next hearing on the project will be on May 2 at 7 p.m. at Battlefield High School’s auditorium located at 15000 Graduation Drive in Haymarket.  For more information on the project, please see https://www.dom.com/corporate/what-we-do/electricity/transmission-lines-and-projects/haymarket-230kv-line-and-substation-project.