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Dulles South residents oppose power lines

Denise Harrover, president of the Dulles South Alliance Homeowners Association, hands out No Towers on 50 posters and cards to attendees of the July 23 public input session with Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles). Times-Mirror/Anna Harris
Members of the Dulles South community voiced their hesitations and opposition to a series of power lines set for build along Route 50 at the July 23 public input session hosted by Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles).

Dominion is required by law to build the power lines to supply service to a data center approved for a parcel of land along Route 50 near the Harris Teeter in the East Gate Marketplace.

The 230 kV power lines themselves originally planned for a route along Poland Road are the bigger issue for residents, who want neither the eyesore nor the potential harm of the high power transmission project hanging over their heads.

At the meeting, Letourneau presented the alternative power line routes after the Loudoun Board of Supervisors officially denounced the current plan for the power line.

Not only are the residents concerned, the power lines cause issue for the county in the development of Avonlea, Dulles Landing and other commercial parcels and are inconsistent with the Route 50 Gateway policies the county has developed, according to Letourneau.

The power line route alternatives to help offset these concerns include:

-A route east of Route 606 along the Loudoun Quarries in Sterling. Supervisors are currently working with the quarry.

-To extend the lines toward Dulles West Boulevard. The county has entered into talks with the parcel owners which Letourneau called “encouraging.” Dulles Landing is supportive of the idea, which the supervisor said could save Dominion time and money.

-The third and final route cuts into Fairfax County and connects to a pre-existing substation.

Many residents at the meeting had questions about the alternatives, but others were adamant that they wanted no power lines at all.

“How about spending money to bring in expert negotiators on this,” said one man from the community. “Why do you come to us with ‘Oh which one of these power line alternatives do you want?’ Some of our answers is we don’t want any of it … We’ll go up here and protest. What do I have to do? Chain myself to a tree? There are other things we can do. We don’t even know who the data center owner is. If it’s Amazon … I want to let people around the world know what disregard Amazon has for the community.”

The identify of the tenant has been an ongoing issue, some at the meeting saying it was favoring business over people to keep it a secret from the citizens. Letourneau said that the identity wasn’t being withheld from the community. Despite cries from the crowd that the owner was Amazon, Letourneau said it was ICSP, LLC, a Wilmington, Del. company that incorporated January 2014.

“In this case it isn’t so much about protecting the identity of the customer [it's about] the security of the site because it is a target ... What we require is for public application and the application is public. You can see who is listed on the name, the name is ICSP... That applicant is likely an operator on behalf of somebody else and that’s what we see a lot.”

He said ICSP can be Googled and they and the group they represent can be seen in other projects together, though he did not confirm that company being Amazon.

Since the data center has already been approved and the land purchased, supervisors can't make the owners move by law. Earlier this month, citizens in Dulles had petitioned to the property owner to move the site.

The site owners are not open to moving the site, the Dulles supervisor said.

“If there was a way to get it moved, we would do that,” he stated.
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