Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (I-At Large) wants to secure the board's formal opposition to a proposal by Dominion Virginia Power Co. to build transmission lines along the Washington & Old Dominion trail in western Loudoun County.
York said he would introduce a resolution at the board's regular meeting Tuesday to urge the power company to find an alternative route and method to erect the transmission lines. The current proposal would require substantial tree-cutting along the trail. York said the 11-mile project would "devastate that whole area" between Leesburg and Purcellville.
"We would like to see this area kept in its pristine state so people who use the trail will get the full flavor" of it, York said.
Dominion holds easements that give it permission to run the lines along the trail. To do so, however, it must obtain approval from the State Corporation Commission in Richmond.
Supervisors, in informal conversations, have already asked Dominion to consider using other routes or burying the lines. Dominion executives have said burying the lines would cost millions. York said that he thought there were viable options for the lines and that it was just a matter of various officials coming together to put forth a solution. He insisted, however, that running the lines along the trail was not a solution.
"For us, this is not an option at all," he said. "It should be completely taken off the table."
The W&OD trail takes its name from the railroad whose trains ran along the right of way from 1859 to 1968. It follows an old railroad route through Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties as well as the City of Falls Church and the towns of Vienna and Herndon. Conversion of the trail for recreational use began in the mid-1970s.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which owns and operates the trail, backed a resolution last week opposing the proposed route for the lines. And a group of residents from Loudoun and Fairfax counties, as well as from Washington, have formed an advocacy group called Save the Trail.
Jim Norvelle, a Dominion spokesman, said the company is in the early stages of looking at other options for the project. He said the additional lines would be needed to service Purcellville, Hamilton and Round Hill by mid-2007.
Norvelle said Dominion would eventually suggest a "preferred route" to the State Corporation Commission, along with a number of alternative routes. For now, he said, the route along the W&OD is just being considered.
"I don't know where it's going to end up in the pecking order," he said, adding, "We certainly have an obligation to give that route very serious consideration" because of the easement Dominion holds on the land.