Henrico residents say power will come with great inconvenience

Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 30, 2012

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) With power can come great inconvenience, say some Henrico residents whose property will be altered to add extra power lines. About ten miles in Henrico will be affected, and about one mile in Hanover County.

Richard Meador and his family have felt right at home over the past 42-years in their quaint West End subdivision

“It means everything to us,” says Meador, who considers his home his castle.

Meador and hundreds of his neighbors are now facing the grueling task of removing just about everything from their backyards, including their decks, sheds, carports, swing sets and furniture.

“All our life, we’ve worked for this stuff and what have we got to show for it?” asks an emotional Meador, “Zilch!”

Meador’s property falls in the right-of-way corridor of approximately 11 miles of transmission lines that Dominion Virginia Power plans to upgrade this summer in Henrico and Hanover Counties.

The existing right-of-way corridor extends from the Northwest Substation to the Lakeside Substation.

Neighbors Roy and Judy Kaufelt says they’ve known about the 75-foot easement in their backyard since they bought their home nearly fifty years ago, but they say the structures on their property have never been an issue before.

The Kaufelt’s say Dominion began approaching neighbors about the project in November, but argue the company did not send a note demanding they remove all structures within the easement of their backyards until April.

“They want it to be totally clear and free and I’ve got thirty days to do it,” exclaims Judy Kaufelt.

Roy Kaufelt adds, “I’m 70-years old.  I’ve had two heart attacks and I can’t physically do it.”

According to Dominion Virginia Power, the issue is safety.  In a written statement the company said  it “needs access to its right-of-ways to keep customers and employees safe during the construction and maintenance of the much needed transmission line.”

Dominion also says it’s been working with the 500 impacted neighbors since June and has offered a $500 credit to assist them.

However construction crews say the cost can easily escalate.  “That’s not going to cover it for most people that have the hardship of moving their big buildings or several buildings on each property,” says construction worker Tony Vanderscheer.

The Meador and Kaufelt families say they understand the need for safety, but feel  Dominion isn’t being a good neighbor to the hundreds of impacted families who say they want the company to be more fair and understanding of their circumstances.