WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Dominion Virginia Power formally applied Wednesday for permission from James City County to rezone land in Grove, where it would construct a switching station to connect a proposed power line over the James River to its existing power network.
The county was one of three parties to take Dominion to the Supreme Court of Virginia over the line, which would cross the river from a point in Surry County to a site near Carter’s Grove.
The court ruled the county has the authority to give its blessing to the switching station the utility needs for the line to function.
The utility has consequently filed a formal application for what is known as a special-use permit, which would allow it to construct the station. It has also asked the county to rezone the land — located off the 8900 block of Pocahontas Trail — from its current residential designation to an industrial designation so that it may construct two static poles, which would protect the equipment in the station from lightning.
The application leaves the final say for the switching station with the James City County Board of Supervisors, which voted last year to take the utility to court over the proposed power line. The board opposed the line because of it how it would affect historic resources that drive tourism in the area.
The line would be visible from the eastern tip of Jamestown Island, the Colonial Parkway and Carter’s Grove.
The county and several historic-minded groups have come out against the line, saying Dominion could choose from another route that would not mar the vistas on the James River. The utility says the route it wants is the only financially viable way to build the line, which must be in place by April 2017.
The utility says if the line is not built by then, it will have to resort to cutting off power to customers for up to 80 days per year to avoid overloading the peninsula’s power network.
The application will now be considered by James City County staff members, who will forward it to the county’s planning commission with a recommendation on whether to approve the project. The commission will host a public hearing and then vote whether to recommend the board approve the project. It will then go before the board, which will host a public hearing before casting a final vote.
The planning commission public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 5, though that could change if the staff analysis runs into problems.