New Shoreline Management procedure upgrades at Smith Mountain Project introduced to speed permitting

ROANOKE, Va., Dec. 18, 2017 – Appalachian Power has initiated changes to its Shoreline Management program designed to ease the permitting process for property owners at its Smith Mountain Project, a two-reservoir hydroelectric pumped storage facility in southwest Virginia.

The changes include a website feature that assists existing or prospective property owners to quickly receive status reports, an automated telephone site that speeds access to appropriate employee contacts, and a new property survey requirement for permit applicants designed to accelerate reviews.

“These new features and more that we plan for the future will assist Smith Mountain and Leesville property owners in the approval of permits for shoreline work as well as speed the process for property transfers,” said Neil Holthouser who supervises the company’s shoreline program.

Appalachian’s Shoreline Management Plan, authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of the company’s operating license for the hydroelectric facility, is designed to help manage development and protect the environment along shorelines and within the boundaries of the two lakes that make up the project. Company approval is required for most construction and landscaping within lake boundaries.

Perhaps the most notable change is a new requirement that a property survey must be submitted by the owner when seeking an Occupancy and Use Permit from Appalachian Power. This type of permit is required for construction or modification of boat docks, piers, or other structures located within the boundaries of the hydroelectric project.

The survey requirement will ensure greater accuracy and reduce the time required by Appalachian shoreline staff to review applications. Holthouser said that area contractors and surveyors have been notified of this change which is effective immediately.

The company’s Smith Mountain Project website has added a feature that allows an easy submission of a request to obtain a Status of Property Report for sellers or potential buyers of shoreline property. Realtors will be able to submit an online request that will provide certain property information, cutting down information intake and review time by employees. An automated reply will be generated to the requestor and to the property owner signifying that the company is acting on the information and thereby reducing the number of additional phone inquiries.

The Status of Property Report includes information about the property’s permitting history and identifies any compliance issues that must be addressed before permits can be assigned to the new property owner.

The Appalachian shoreline team has also initiated an automated phone system (540-985-2579) that provides a staff directory and a menu of shoreline management services.

“This is another feature that will help speed the connection to the appropriate person by property owners or their representatives,” Holthouser noted.

This information and additional Shoreline Management connections are available on the company’s website www.SmithMountainProject.com

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Combined, the project includes about 600 miles of shoreline. Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power.

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John Shepelwich

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