Frederick Officials Reject Effort To Reconsider Substation Issue

April 24, 1997|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

The Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals will not reconsider its decision on the screening of a planned Allegheny Power System Inc. substation near Mount Airy.

At a brief meeting this week, the board rejected a request to reconsider its decision that would allow trees and a fence as adequate screening for the substation.

That decision clears the way for the utility to begin constructing a 34.5-kilovolt substation atop Parrs Ridge, unless opponents appeal to Circuit Court.

Members of the Penn Shop Regional Civic Association are considering a court appeal, said Stephen A. Thorner, association treasurer.

"We were obviously disappointed [in the board's decision]. We had some valid points we felt should be reconsidered," he said.

Residents of the Penn Shop and Mill Bottom Road areas contested the screening plans as the substation proposal bounced between the county planning commission and the appeals board for nearly a year.

Opponents pointed out that Parrs Ridge is the highest point between the Chesapeake Bay and the Catoctin Mountains, and that the substation will be visible from nearby Interstate 70.

Debate on whether Allegheny Power must build walls to screen its planned substation centered on interpretations of county zoning law.

The county planning commission interpreted the ordinance to require walls, and ordered the utility in January to enclose most of the equipment.

Allegheny Power appealed and won a zoning board decision last month that a slatted fence and trees are adequate screening.

The substation will initially be 6,000 square feet on a half-acre site.

A second phase will expand it to 230 kilovolts on 2.5 acres.

Mill Bottom Road residents Leonard and Jackie Martin asked for the reconsideration, arguing that the appeals board erred on six points.

The board received at least seven letters from area residents supporting the Martins' request.

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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