Electric substation eyes TCD zoning

BLYTHEWOOD – Fairfield Electric Co-op is planning to build an electrical substation on property located at 861 Community Road on two acres across from the Midland Storage Company.

Because the substation is located in the Town Center District, an electrical substation is not permitted outright. Fairfield Co-op is requesting that the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) make a special exception for the facility. The property borders industrial zoning.  A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m., Monday, February 11, for the board to hear the appeal.

If the BZA appeal is granted, the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) will then take the matter up at another public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Doko Manor, to determine whether to award a Certificate of Appropriateness, which is required before Fairfield Electric Co-op can begin construction.

If the substation request for a special exception is does not qualify for a BZA exception, utilities sometimes get special consideration because of the need for the service they provide, BAR president Jim McLean told The Voice. However, he said he is not sure if either the BZA or the BAR is the level at which such consideration is granted.

Town Administrator Brian Cook said the BAR does have the power to grant certain variances from the architectural review parameters for out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.

“It could open a can of worms for us,” McLean said. “I would be surprised, though, if this type of request has not come up in other towns. So, we’ll see.”

The texts and documents related to the requests for both the special exception and the variance are available, upon request, for public inspection in the office of the Town Clerk at Blythewood Town Hall, 171 Langford Road, during regular working hours. The documents will also be available at the public hearing.

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