Nathan Grayson helps his aunt Willette Grayson, 91, walk to his car in June in Haymarket, Va. Willette Grayson is the oldest living relative of Livinia Blackburn Johnson, a freed slave who settled the area along Carver Road. (Jason Andrew for The Washington Post)

The Dominion Energy utility company Friday announced that it will no longer seek to build new power lines through a Northern Virginia community where descendants of an ex-slave have lived for generations.

Instead, the company will seek to build the 230,000-volt lines along Interstate 66, the company said in a statement that accompanied a legal filing with the State Corporation Commission asking for permission to move forward with that plan.

The company said a route along Carver Road in Prince William County that was approved by the commission is "not constructible," because of reluctance from county officials to grant easements needed for that project.

The descendants of Livinia Blackburn Johnson have lived on the land that she and some other freed slaves bought under an 1866 federal law that allowed them to own property.

Tied to plans for a new data center in the Haymarket area, the power-line route has been a source of local controversy for several years. Area residents want Dominion to partially bury the lines along I-66, filing several legal motions that seek to force the company to do so.

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An “overhead route” along I-66 would potentially affect several thousand homes, the commission has said.