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Votes

Supervisors Favor 606 Corridor for Power Line

July 17-23, 2002

The Board of Supervisors wants Dominion Virginia Power to place a proposed transmission line for eastern Loudoun underground, but Dominion Virginia Power has its own reasons for wanting to run the line overhead.

The transmission line is expected to accommodate new data centers and developments in the eastern end of the county. Dominion Virginia Power projects that existing lines along the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail will reach capacity by mid-2005. The first phase of the two-phase project includes two lines that will serve the areas north and south of the W&OD Trail, while the second-phase transmission line will serve the Route 28 corridor and accommodate developer requests.

"WorldCom seems to be powering down, so why are we bothering to do this?" Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) asked the two Dominion Virginia Power representatives attending the July 15 board meeting.

"We want to have it energized," said John Bailey, coordinator of Bulk Power Delivery, in response. "The project in 2005 won't be able to provide the loads. We think we are right on schedule."

The Board of Supervisors voted to support the third of three alternative routes for the transmission line. The route will bring the line from a new substation planned for south of the Broadlands area and along the Route 6 corridor, then across the Dulles Greenway and into the Greenway substation. The other two alternatives impact a larger number of residential areas, the board said. One of the alternatives includes Route 7 and the other the Dulles Greenway.

About 38 to 60 homes are planned for the Route 606 corridor, depending on which side of the route the line will be placed, according to the board's action item. Most of the land fronting the alignment is planned for light industrial and office use.

AT THE REQUEST of the Land Use Committee, the board recommended Dominion Virginia Power place the line underground as a safety measure for Washington Dulles International Airport and to protect the residential and commercial properties along the northern portion of the corridor.

"They're hard to see," said Supervisor Chuck Harris (D-Broad Run), referring to the above-ground transmission lines. "The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] doesn't like to have obstructions up in the air. Now we have an aviation safety issue at the end of the runway."

Consulting engineer D.E. Koonce listed reasons why Dominion Virginia Power prefers the overhead lines. Underground lines can be unreliable, since, when they fail, they can take longer to repair, he said. They are not flexible in accommodating future circuits and increases in capacity and may require additional facilities, he said.

York told Koonce and Bailey the board will not support what Dominion Virginia Power wants, but what the community wants.

"But you don't want to do that. At what point do you work with us that we solve the concerns of the residential and the business community?" York said.

"It remains we disagree," Bailey said.

Dominion Virginia Power expects to file an application for the second-phase transmission line in late summer or early fall. The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearings will follow next year. The SCC will use information submitted by the company and public input, along with input from the Loudoun Supervisors, to make a decision.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

* The board nominated six new members to the Fire-Rescue Commission. The board previously adopted a new Fire and Rescue Charter and established a new commission at the May 20 meeting. The county hired consultant Emsstar Group to conduct a study and propose a model fire and rescue system for the county. The charter is a result of the two-year process.

The board appointed three fire and three Emergency Medical Services (EMS) volunteers to serve staggered terms on the commission.

The three fire volunteers for the commission are Fred Muller and Douglas Rambo, who will serve two-year terms, and Allie Love, who will serve a one-year term. Muller is at Company 4 in Round Hill, Rambo at Companies 15 and 25 in Sterling, and Love at Company 3 in Middleburg.

The three EMS volunteers are Ian Buchanan and Clyde "Mickey" Buchanan, who will serve one-year terms, and Joseph Habib, who will serve a two-year term. Ian Buchanan is at Companies 1 and 20 in Leesburg, Clyde "Mickey" Buchanan at Companies 11 and 18 in Sterling, and Habib at Company 6 in Ashburn.

The six members were selected from 21 applicants.

The commission consists of a total of seven voting members, including the chief of the Department of Fire Rescue Services, and two non-voting members. Board member James "Jim" Burton (I-Mercer) and Operational Medical Director Donald Sabella will serve as non-voting members. Robert Griffin will serve as the seventh voting member.

* THE BOARD appointed Janelle Offerman to the nine-member Planning Commission to fill a vacancy left by the death of Tim Page in May. Offerman, a Sterling resident for the past 10 years, will represent the Sterling district.

Offerman works part-time as a school crossing guard and is the team captain of the Rolling Ridge Elementary School Crossing Guard Team. She also is a classroom and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) volunteer at the school.

The Planning Commission is an advisory board that provides recommendations on issues concerning land development ordinances, comprehensive planning, future land use policies and the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for the county.