VERONA – The Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday denied a special use permit for a storage yard for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in western Augusta County.
The board, citing community concerns about the storage yard location, voted 4-1 to deny the permit.
Thursday’s vote came after the BZA twice tabled a decision on the 59-acre site near the intersection of West Augusta Road and Deerfield Valley Road in western Augusta County. The site is a couple of miles from the West Augusta community.
Board of Zoning appeals member Daisy Brown offered the most articulate opposition to the permit. Brown said it is the duty of the zoning board to protect the county with zoning decisions and to protect the neighbors.
She said the rural landscape proposed for the storage yard lacked compatibility for the project. She described the site as small and agricultural and said the storage yard would be “too big” for West Augusta.
She said the chemicals, oil and gas in the storage yard site could affect nearby wildlife, including brook trout. Brown said the board has a duty to keep “West Augusta citizens safe and protect future resources for children.”
Other members of the zoning board said they had listened to the concerns of residents who would live near the storage yard. Board Chairman Steve Shreckhise said “there are a lot of reasons not to have” the storage yard.
Board member George Coyner II said he was concerned about soil compaction and the proximity to streams.
Opponents of the pipeline project and residents of western Augusta County have expressed concerns about the storage yard. A large crowd of opponents showed up for Thursday’s meeting at the Augusta County Government Center.
Plans called for the storage yard to serve about 250 workers. In addition to serving as the location for three food trucks, the storage yard would have housed pipes and other materials, and would have offered some minor pipe fabrication.
Ron Baker, the construction manager for the pipeline, said the special-use permit would only be for two years. Any extension of the permit would require coming before the zoning board again. He said the storage yard would serve about 32 miles of the pipeline from the Highland and Bath county lines into Augusta County.
As for concerns of pollution and runoff into adjacent streams from the storage yard, Baker said the pipeline builders would employ “best management practices” to avoid runoff from the storage site.
A Dominion Energy official said permitting requirements stipulate that the land for the storage yard must be returned to its original agricultural condition.
Baker offered a power point presentation to the zoning board that described the entire pipeline construction process, a process that includes numerous crews and 14 steps.
The ACP pipeline route covers about 55 miles of Augusta County. While construction on the 600-mile underground natural gas pipeline has begun in both West Virginia and North Carolina, a final notice to proceed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is needed for construction to start in Virginia, according to Baker.