Sierra Pacific looks for another shot at building Mark Twain substation
Appeal Staff Writer
Sierra Pacific Power Co. officials are hoping for a second chance to build a substation in Mark Twain.
The company’s request for a special use permit to build the substation, along with power lines that would connect to the Tracy power plant, was rejected by the Storey County Planning Commission on June 21.
The planning commission only recommends action to the county commissioners, who make the final decision. Acceptance or rejection of the planning commission’s recommendation is on the agenda for the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday.
Mary Simmons, vice president of external affairs for the utility, sent a letter to the commission asking that the permit application be sent back to the planning commission, “for further work with the residents in the Mark Twain area.”
“We have had an opportunity to meet twice before the planning commission and we’ve done two open houses with the residents,” said Sierra Pacific spokesman Fay Anderson. “We’d like to come back before the planning commission and offer some of the alternatives we’ve come up with.”
Among those alternatives, she said, are adding a block wall instead of the chain link fence and installing some landscaping.
“The whole point is we’d just like to work a little longer one-on-one with the residents so we can bring power to them and the area,” she said.
She said the location, on property a half-mile north of Territory Road belonging to the Borda family, is still part of the proposal.
The Borda family doesn’t want to sell the land to Sierra Pacific and the utility has initiated eminent domain proceedings to force the sale.
However, Storey County Building Administrator Dean Haymore said the company is trying to put together a helicopter trip for him and officials of the utility to show them different potential locations.
Anthony Houts, an organizer of Mark Twain residents opposed to the substation, said there was no benefit to the community to send the matter back to the planning commission.
“I don’t see any gain for us,” he said, noting that the planning commission had already turned them down. “What they’re asking for is a second bite of the apple because they’re not happy with the initial result.”
He said if the utility were to consider different locations they would have to come back with a new special use permit request.
“If Sierra Pacific wants to put in additional applications, change their request or their location, they should start a new process,” he said. “We believe the commissioners have a responsibility to people in Mark Twain and Storey County to go ahead and approve the findings of the planning commission.”
Haymore said the county commissioners can either agree to Sierra Pacific’s request or they can decide whether to accept or reject the planning commission’s recommendation.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
If you go
WHAT: Storey County Commission meeting
WHEN: 2 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: District Courtroom, Storey County Courthouse, B St. Virginia City