Augusta County denies Dominion special use permit

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals denied Dominion Energy's request for a special use permit on Thursday.

Dominion wanted to build a staging area for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on land in West Augusta.

The special use permit request was denied by a vote of 4 to 1. Members of the board had concerns about the staging area's impact on the environment and the impact of truck traffic on the rural roads. Augusta County residents had similar concerns.

"And it was so disruptive to that community," Scott Ballin said. "We want to preserve that land and those farmlands. That's why so many people move out there, because that's their way of life. And this would have destroyed it."

Dominion says they'll have to re-evaluate their options before moving forward.

"It's a process we need to move forward with, and we'll reevaluate what our options are," Emmett Toms, manager of external affairs for Dominion Energy, said. "But it was the wish of the county that we not have this site, so we'll just have to deal with that in our construction plans and move forward."

This is the second special use permit that the Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals has denied. They denied Dominion's request for a staging area in Churchville in March of this year.

Thursday was the third time that the board had heard Dominion's request. It was tabled in September and October.

The pipeline is under construction, stretching 600 hundred miles. It will go through some parts of Augusta County along its route from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina to transport natural gas.

Construction was temporarily halted in August due to a federal court vacating two permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, but FERC allowed work to resume in September.