Hearing set for tower permit

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, March 28, 2019

Members of the Buckingham County Planning Commission voted to set a public hearing for a Special Use Permit (SUP) for a microwave communications tower that was approved for construction in July 2017.

The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 22, 7 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 13360 W. James Anderson Highway.

The applicant is Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) LLC and the land parcel is located on approximately 68 acres at South James River Highway, Route 56, in the James River Magisterial District.

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The SUP was initially approved by the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors in July 2017 and the microwave communications tower was intended to support the ACP compressor station.

“The Special Use (Permit) was valid for 18 months,” documentation from the planning commission board packet cited. “The Board of Supervisors approved the Case 17 -SUP242 on July 10, 2017, so this SUP expired January 2019. The Zoning Ordinance does not provide for authority to renew this same permit or to grant an extension. Due to this, the ACP LLC has submitted a new application for a special use permit. This application seeks authorization of the same tower, on the same property and under the same terms.”

The 12 conditions presented in the permit were the ones approved by the Board in July 2017 for the expired SUP.

Some of these conditions include maintaining existing trees along the northwestern property line, along the front of the property as buffers, and to plant trees east of the station access road and east of the existing Transco lines; that the application include approved State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Environmental Preservation Act (NEPA) analysis reports; that the tower not exceed 199 feet in total, with 195 feet being the structural height of the tower and 4 feet being the lightning rod; and that there be space on the tower for Buckingham County 911 Communication Equipment.

A difference in the proposed conditions, County Administrator Rebecca Carter said, is that this SUP would be valid for 36 months in place of 18 months.

In a letter from ACP representative Paul A. Bastin dated March 4, Bastin made note of the January expiration and requested the county’s approval of the SUP.

“While state and local governments may not ‘prohibit or unreasonably delay the construction or operation of facilities approved by the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),’ the FERC encourages cooperation between interstate pipelines and local authorities to address any state or local aspects of a proposed project under FERC review … . Atlantic is re-submitting this SUP application and seeking re-approval of the Tower on the Property,” Bastin said in the letter.