JCC, Dominion Agree to Postpone Switching Station Hearing

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A simulated view of the over-river power line from the Kingsmill area. (Photo courtesy Dominion)
A simulated view of the over-river power line from the Kingsmill area. (Photo courtesy Dominion)

Residents who planned to voice their opinion in October on the rezoning of land for the Skiffes Creek Switching Station will have to wait more than a month longer, as Dominion Virginia Power and the James City County Board of Supervisors have agreed to push back the public hearing.

After a closed session Sept. 22, the board voted unanimously to reschedule the hearing on the land use application to Nov. 24, said Vice Chairman Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown).

The hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 13.

Onizuk said Dominion requested the postponement of the hearing. In a letter to board chairman Michael Hipple (Powhatan) dated Sept. 17, attorney Brennen Keene, who represents Dominion, writes that Dominion is waiting for “permit approvals that could affect the proposed Station” and a postponement could help all parties “better understand how those pending approvals could affect local permitting by James City County for the proposed Station.”

The switching station is part of Dominion’s plan to build a 500kV power line across the James River to provide electricity to the area after the Yorktown Power Station shuts down in 2016 due to federal environmental quality regulations.

Dominion’s appeal of the Planning Commission’s Aug. 5 decision to recommend the supervisors deny the rezoning request needed to be heard within 60 days of filing, but the mutual agreement between the board and Dominion allowed the delay.

Onizuk said both the board and Dominion now have more time to obtain details that will be critical to making a zoning decision.

“We would appreciate the opportunity to have all the necessary information, including the Corps of Engineers findings,” Onizuk said, referring to the construction permit review currently being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He said the new hearing date, which falls on the week of Thanksgiving, is not set in stone.

“That date could be deferred further, it just depends on the progress at that point,” Onizuk said.