Accomack Commissioners to Hear Comments on Townhouse, Energy Proposals

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By Carol Vaughn —

The Accomack County Planning Commission will hold public hearings Wednesday, Jan.12 about two proposed projects in northern Accomack County.

The planning commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the hearings begin at 7:30 p.m. at Metompkin Elementary School in Parksley.

Two hearings concern a proposal to build 142 townhouses on land near Captains Cove in Greenbackville.

CCG Note LLC is requesting to conditionally rezone 24.41 acres, the former Hastings/Mariner farm on State Line Road near Greenbackville, from residential to village development and also has applied for a conditional use permit to build a 142-townhouse and commercial mixed use development there.

The property is surrounded on three sides by Captains Cove.

Water and sewer service would be provided by Aqua’s facilities in Captains Cove, according to a memorandum included in the Dec. 8 planning commission meeting packet.

Plans include blocks of townhouses, private roads, stormwater management features, a clubhouse and pool, and a utility building, among other features.

A farmhouse on the property would be converted to a sales office, according to information presented at the Nov. 10 planning commission meeting.

A representative of CCG Note said at that meeting the plan is for the townhouses to be rentals to begin with.

Chris McCabe said a feasibility study the property owners commissioned showed “there was a drastic workforce rental housing shortage in the whole county.”

A crowd of Captains Cove residents attended the Nov. 10 meeting, with some expressing concerns about the development, including about its potential impact on county resources.

The application is the first one filed for a mixed use development in the county’s village development district since the district was adopted in 2014, according to the memorandum included in the planning commission’s Dec. 8 meeting packet.

County standards require that mixed use developments be adequately served by a water and sewer facility, central or public, among other requirements.

Aqua in a Nov. 17 letter said it has sufficient water and sewer capacity to serve the proposed development.

Jupiter Power Proposal

In two additional public hearings, the planning commission will receive comment about a proposal by Scout Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Jupiter Power LLC, to build and operate a utility-scale battery energy storage facility, which the company says will deliver more reliable power for county residents and businesses without having to build new transmission infrastructure, which electric company customers often pay for.

The company proposes to build an up to 80-megawatt battery energy storage facility on 11.6 acres of land now zoned agricultural near the intersection of Chincoteague Road and Fleming Road in Wattsville.

The project is described in a company narrative included in the Dec. 8 planning commission meeting packet as consisting of “safe, reliable, and proven lithium-ion based energy storage technology that will be charged with energy from, and discharge energy back to, Virginia’s electric grid.”

The facility if approved will be connected to and will function alongside Delmarva Power’s existing 69 kilovolt electric substation, which is across Chincoteague Road from the proposed location.

The company proposes to start construction in fall 2022 and says the facility should be ready for commercial operation in 2023.

Scout Energy in November submitted an application to Accomack County to rezone the property from agricultural to industrial use, along with an application for a conditional use permit.

The company identified the Eastern Shore as a location “where battery energy storage could provide significant support to the power grid,” according to the narrative.

The facility if approved “will support a more resilient, stable, and responsive grid in Accomack County and on the wider Delmarva Peninsula,” according to the narrative.

The parcel was sold in March 2020 for $225,000 by Doily E. Fulcher, Ralph D. Welsh Jr., C. Robert Hickman, Ruth C. Estes, and Dorothy L. Smith by Sherry W. Sharpe, her attorney-in-fact, to Juno Power Management LLC, of Texas, Dream Park LLC, of New Church, and Ray L. and Laura Lyn Twiford of Wattsville.

According to the deed, 11.624 acres was conveyed to Juno Power Management LLC and a 10,072 square foot portion of the original parcel was conveyed to Dream Park LLC.

Additionally, another 3,350 square foot area was conveyed to the Twifords.

The area proposed for the facility is bordered by residential use to the east and south, according to the narrative.

Jupiter Power, the sole member of Scout Storage LLC, was founded in 2017 and is backed by EnCap Investments LP, an energy investor with more than $38 billion in capital commitments.

The Texas-based company currently has six energy storage projects totaling 435 megawatts either operating or under construction.

In addition to county approvals, the project has to secure a permit from Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, called a permit-by-rule (PBR).

All energy storage facilities under 150 megawatts must obtain a PBR, according to the narrative.

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