Sierra Pacific Power Co. may have found a new site for the controversial Emma substation that it sought to locate in the Mark Twain area of Storey County.
The company sent a letter Thursday to Dean Haymore, Storey County building official and planning administrator, informing him of the new site, near the Blackhawk Mine about three miles from the initial location.
Sierra Pacific spokesman Faye Anderson said the actions are very preliminary.
"We have submitted a preliminary proposal to the staff," she said. "We'll be meeting with them next week to discuss it. They are preliminary, they are not final, so they may change."
Anderson said company officials need to meet with Storey planning staff before requesting a new special-use permit.
"We want to go over it with staff in detail," she said. "We'd like to get the opinion of the staff and how they feel about it and how we can, or if we can, proceed from here."
Haymore has said county ordinance requires a company to wait a year before seeking another special-use permit, but added he would encourage the commissioners to approve a waiver if Sierra Pacific found a new location.
Anderson also said if the new location is approved, it could change the company's position in a lawsuit for judicial review the utility filed after the Storey County Commission rejected its request for a special-use permit to install an Emma substation in Mark Twain. More than 100 Mark Twain residents have attended several meetings of both the county commission and the planning commission to oppose the substation located in their neighborhood.
Arguments in the suit are scheduled for 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 in the meantime.
According to the company's letter, the new facility will be called the Blackhawk substation and will 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 letter states the new substation will be located on 11 acres of private property, owned by Rolling Hills Partners, surrounded by Bureau of Land Management property to the west and south, the Virginia Range to the north and private property to the east.
The site will not be visible to Mark Twain residents, according to the letter.
The power line will be moved farther east on Tahoe Reno Industrial Center property, and the company asserts it has preliminary approval from TRI owners.
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