Power upgrades cause confusion and anger for residents

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-07 08:38:03-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--Back in April, several homeowners in the West End were told by Dominion Virginia Power to clear their backyards because of a power upgrade set to take place soon.   

The homeowners all live in the right-of-way of transmission lines and subject to a 75-foot easement.

Many spent money and manpower to remove sheds, carports, and swing sets only to be told that now they might have move them again.

In what seems to be a case of the right hand not talking to the left, homeowners said that they were given very specific instructions by Dominion on where to move the structures in their backyards.

Now, after the fact, some have been told by Henrico County that they can't have any structure within 10-feet of their homes.

Carol Tuck, a resident in the Mount Vernon Heights subdivision for 30 years, is outraged about the differing ordinances. "All these people followed Dominion orders and moved their sheds and did everything Dominion told them to,” says Tuck, and “now they're in violation with Henrico County."

Dominion says safety and reliability are the reasons the company must enforce the entire 75-foot easement.

Neighbor Wanda Parrish said she's just as confused and says she refuses to pay the $3-thousand dollars to move her carport and garage until she gets answers from both the county and Dominion.

"Just to worry about this has taken a toll on me," Parrish says.

Henrico county officials confirmed that they are working with Dominion and hope that the company will make exceptions to their easement restrictions so residents won’t have to move structures that are now in violation of county safety codes. 

However, Dominion argues that newer federal regulations require that they have unfettered access to transmission lines.

Dominion says it is considering each homeowner’s appeal on a case-by-case basis.  The company also says that businesses, including the Acura dealership on West Broad Street, are subject to the same encroachment rules.