Sierra Pacific lawsuit against Storey County to be heard Nov. 5

A judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by Sierra Pacific Power Co. against Storey County in November.

The power company is seeking judicial review of a commission decision rejecting its request for a special use permit to install an Emma substation in the Mark Twain area of the county, connected by a 345,000-volt power line and two additional lines linking the substation to the Tracy Power Plant in Northern Storey County.

In their action, commissioners Aug. 7 upheld the recommendations of the county's Planning Commission, which turned down the Sierra Pacific request on June 21, after hearing negative reaction from more than 100 Mark Twain residents.

The matter will be heard at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5, before District Judge Todd Russell in the courtroom of the Storey County Courthouse, 26 S. B St., Virginia City.

The utility appealed the commission's decision on Sept. 5, but began discussions with county officials to find an alternative site.

Sierra Pacific spokesman Faye Anderson said the utility is still pursuing a "parallel path," by seeking court action and looking for an alternative location for the substation.

"We had a meeting on it last week, and we're pretty much in the same place," she said.

The filing by the power company said evidence was "incontrovertible" that the substation would be in the best interest of the general public and not detrimental to surrounding property.

Sierra Pacific has also initiated eminent-domain proceedings to force the sale of the land, owned by the Borda family, that the substation would be built on.

The utility also said that if the substation is not built in time to be on line by summer, the reliability of electric service for certain portions of the grid will be at risk.

In response, Storey County officials said the utility did not inform the county of the planned location of the substation until right before the special-use permit was requested in December.

Among other points made in the county's response was that the company's application stated the substation and lines were to serve Dayton and Carson City. No mention of providing service to southern Storey County was made in the application, but was made in the subsequent lawsuit.

The response also listed the concerns voiced by Mark Twain residents over property values and open space view impacts, quality of life, noise pollution, health risks and other issues, adding that the county received a petition signed by 194 residents opposing the substation.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.

If you go

WHAT: Sierra Pacific Power Co. versus Storey County judicial review hearing

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5

WHERE: 26 S. B St., Virginia City

CALL: 847-0969


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