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Electric-Distribution Substation Receives WFCCA Approval

It's on to the county Planning Commission now for NOVEC. Its proposal for a new electric-distribution substation in Centreville received an OK last week from the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee.

NOVEC ALREADY has a Centreville substation about a half mile east of Bull Run Post Office Road and slightly northwest of the Columbia Gas line. It's now requesting a special-exception permit from Fairfax County to build an electric-distribution substation on the same site.

"The [county's] Comprehensive Plan recommends two substations in this area, and this is one of them," said land-use attorney Sarah Hall, representing NOVEC at the Tuesday, March 15, WFCCA meeting. "And county staff is recommending approval."

It would back up to the existing, fenced-in substation, and all the construction would be within those confines. "It would provide power to new neighborhoods," said Hall. "We hope to have it on line in summer to keep everybody's air conditioning going."

With about 120 homes in Sully Estates, some 1,700 new homes in the Virginia Run area and approximately 800 homes in Country Club Manor, "NOVEC needs the extra substation to handle the load," said NOVEC's Robert Bisson, vice president, electric-system development.

Up to now, the Cub Run substation at Old Lee and Braddock roads has handled much of this burden. But with all the new residential development here, that substation is overloaded.

EVAN SMITHGAL, homeowners association president of Fairfax National Estates, asked where the new power lines would go. "Underground, along Bull Run Post Office Road, toward Loudoun County, where it'll meet up with other overhead wires," replied NOVEC's George Coutts.

Although it'll be built on Fairfax County land, the new facility will also serve part of Loudoun County. However, Bisson said that, over the next three years, NOVEC will also build three substations in Loudoun.

"What about lighting?" asked Smithgal. "I'm concerned that it be kept lit inside, not outside." But Bisson assured him that the new substation would "only be lit when crews are working — and lighting will be directed downward."

The WFCCA then approved the substation proposal. Said WFCCA's Chris Terpak-Malm: "It's a perfect site for it — well-hidden — and it's fenced and graveled."