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ACP yard subject of hearing

Members of the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday to receive input from residents about a conditional use permit for a temporary construction yard that would be used for construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

Kenda Hanuman

The yard would store equipment and material that would be transported to a nearby construction site for the pipeline, a previous Herald report cited about the property.

Members of the Cumberland County Planning Commission voted to approve a recommendation for the conditional use permit to the board of supervisors.

The construction yard would use 75 acres out of a 337-acre lot. The lot had been previously used by American Timberland.

The board packet for the Jan. 9 board of supervisors meeting cited that the property is zoned as Agricultural-2.

“While this is not an enumerated use in the district, it is a combination of two enumerated conditional use permit uses, borrowing and stockpiling and utility operations,” the board packet cited about the conditional use permit for the construction yard. “The use is for the duration of the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the intent is for the land to return to forestry use after the completion of the project.”

The ACP natural gas project is projected to be 600 miles long and will start in West Virginia, travel through Virginia and end in North Carolina. A 42-inch pipeline would span Buckingham County and cross Cumberland and Prince Edward counties. The project has been hotly contested in Buckingham County and has drawn attention in Cumberland as well. At one point during the Jan. 8 Cumberland Planning Commission meeting, approximately 40 people were present in the room, with some standing in the back as chairs had been filled.

In January, county supervisors in Buckingham approved a special use permit for a 53,783-horsepower compressor station, slated to be constructed between Shelton Store and Union Hill Roads on Route 56.

Ron Baker, project manager with the ACP, said during the planning commission meeting that the portion of the pipeline that would benefit from the proposed Cumberland construction yard stretches 59 miles, from Route 626 in Nelson County extending south to Route 607.

“It’s slated for 2018 construction,” Baker said. “Peak use of this yard would be from April to November of 2018. The new yard will be incorporated into the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) FERC filing.”

As reasons for choosing the site, Baker cited the location’s proximity to the work site without using many public roads, the lack of nearby residents and close proximity to amenities such as restaurants or hotels, noting those in Farmville as an example.

Three members of the public asked questions and voiced concerns during the Jan. 8 planning commission meeting relating to the construction yard. Concerns included potential traffic hazards of the vehicles on Route 45.

At the Jan. 9 board of supervisors meeting, Kenda Hanuman, a resident of Buckingham County, spoke during a public comment period and said that a similar construction yard had been proposed in Augusta County, and representatives voted to table the project. Hanuman asked if residents who live on Salem Church Road will receive compensation in the case of potential damage of property. She asked Cumberland supervisors to potentially table the permit and request further information from the ACP.

“I think the risk (to) the neighborhood here in Cumberland really needs to be considered after hearing Ms. Snoddy talking about the environment and how much care goes into that,” Hanuman said, referring to a presentation given earlier in the meeting by Kelly Snoddy with the Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation Districts.