Surry Judge Green Lights ODEC Lawsuit

Courtesy of the Daily Press
March 9, 2011  by Allison T. Williams, at  247-4535

SURRY – A Surry Circuit Court judge has refused Old Dominion Electric Cooperative's motions to have a lawsuit filed by four county property owners dismissed and for the residents to pick up the company's legal tab.

Judge Samuel Campbell, in a written decision filed Tuesday, denied Old Dominion's motion to dismiss the citizens' suit lawsuit that alleges that the power cooperative and the town of Dendron didn't include proper information in legal ads published before a February 2010 public hearing.

For example, the advertisements did not include the correct land parcel numbers and required descriptive summaries, according to the original suit.

Old Dominion's proposal to build a $6 billion, 1,500-megawatt coal-fueled power plant on 1,400 acres in Dendron has created a stir among county residents, other Hampton Roads communities and environmentalists. The Dendron Town Council and the Surry County Board of Supervisors approved rezoning and conditional-use permits for the project last year.

Campbell also ordered the four residents to provide documents needed before the case can proceed, including the town's comprehensive plan and rezoning ordinance amendments and Old Dominion's conditional-use permit application. Michael Drewry, a lawyer and one of the four who filed the suit, says the cooperative's attorneys told him Tuesday they would provide those documents.

Campbell's rulings set the stage for a trial to be heard, said Drewry. Other residents who filed the suit include Willie Richardson, Helen Eggleston and John Pond. They asked the courts to order the cooperative and town to hold new public hearings.

"It's not me being picky," said Drewry. "This is a simple request and basic land-use law."
Old Dominion maintains that the public hearings were legally advertised.

Copyright © 2011, Newport News, Va., Daily Press