Mark Twain residents get look at proposed substation site

Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal

Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal

Leaders of a community group in Mark Twain got their first look at a site for a proposed Sierra Pacific Power Co. substation.

Storey County Building and Planning Officer Dean Haymore and County Manager Pat Whitten took four representatives of a local community group to the area Monday to show them how far away any future substation and power lines would be from homes.

Victoria Hanson, a member of the Mark Twain Community nonprofit group, said they were "pleased with the alternate site and that Sierra Pacific worked with Storey County officials to find a solution that works for all."

The utility was turned down in its pursuit of an Emma substation off of Territory Road in Mark Twain by the Storey County Commission in August, largely because of the strong opposition of area residents. Since then, county and company officials have been working together to find a new location.

Whitten told the four that he believed this was the best deal for the county.

"There will still be two, three or five or so people against it," he said. "This is the best we're going to get out of this without going to court."

The location, still in Storey County, is a few miles east of the previous site, though the exact parcel has not been identified. Company spokeswoman Faye Anderson has said it is on private property and the utility is pursuing talks with the owner.

The nearest homes in both Lyon and Storey counties are about five to seven miles from the area of the proposed site, Haymore said, much farther than they were at the previous site.

He said the company would have to seek a zoning change as well as a special use permit for the proposed substation.

On Friday, Anderson confirmed the company had dropped a lawsuit for judicial review, asking the courts to overturn the commission's decision.

Anderson said the utility and the county have tentatively agreed on the new location. The proposed new station would be called the Blackhawk substation and have a new 345,000-volt power line connecting it with the Tracy Power Plant in northern Storey County. It will also include a new 120,000-volt transmission line that will tap into an existing line that services Virginia City, Carson City, Mark Twain and Dayton.

The entire 345,000-volt line with be located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. The 120,000-volt line will cut across the 40-acre section of the Virginia City Highlands, in an area of steep terrain.

That line was the only point of contention for the four, which would be near the property of resident Tom Zachry.

"It would be really great if they can move that back line," he said. "I don't think they can pick a more appropriate place."

Whitten said the county would work with Zachry and the utility.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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