Dec. 3: Nelson Hearing on ACP Request to Cross Floodplains

A Public Hearing will be held at 7 pm Monday December 3, 2018, in the auditorium at Nelson County High/Middle School (6919 Thomas Nelson Hwy, Lovingston) to review four of the deferred floodplain variance applications submitted by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in early 2018. On January 31, 2018, ACP requested the deferrals until such time as they could provide the additional information requested by Nelson County on behalf of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for these four applications to cross designated floodplains.

There are no NEW applications at this time. The hearing will be on the four prior permit applications that were deferred at ACP’s January 31, 2018, request. The other seven of the original eleven applications were actually dismissed in January 2018, and ACP will have to submit new applications for them.  Based on a Friends of Nelson phone call to the Planning Office on November 26, no new information or documentation on the four variance requests had been received from ACP as of that date, and as of November 29 the meeting packet for BZA members, which would include relevant information, had not been posted to the BZA Web site.  The request to reopen the Variance Appeal process came to the Zoning Office via phone call rather than in writing.

The Nelson County Zoning Ordinance specifically includes “Structures or facilities that produce, use, store, or transport highly volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic, and/or water-reactive materials” in the list of “critical facilities [that] are prohibited from being constructed or operated within a SFHA [Special Floodplain Hazard Area] unless a Variance is granted.” (Article 10.15F on p. 87)

The ACP Statement of Justification for Floodplain Crossings contains the usual boiler plate ACP language: “this project is needed,” “FERC agrees this is the best route,” “it will not have adverse impacts,” “it will not affect existing or future development”, etc. Clearly not valid justifications for a variance for a 42-inch pipeline carrying natural gas at 1400 psi, and we need to speak out against it.

Come to the hearing and speak out against granting variances to ACP!  Those wishing to speak will be required to sign in before the meeting.  (As usual, ACP will probably stack their speakers at the beginning.) Nelson County has guidelines for speakers at hearings; note that speakers representing a group will have 5 minutes, individual speakers will have 3 minutes (and may not allocate their time to another individual). If you have general comments (vs site-specific ones), you should state when speaking that you want your comments entered into the public record for all four permits.

Permits are being considered for the following applications/parcels/landowners, all of whom have signed easements with ACP: