Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:


Planning Commission


November 10, 2005

Staff Lead:



W. Todd Benson, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 2-411 to Establish 200 Foot Setbacks Between Transmission Line Easements Carrying 500 kV  Lines or Greater and All Buildings


Topic Description:


The proposed amendment would establish 200 foot setbacks of buildings from easements carrying lines equal to or greater than 500 kV.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:


Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.

Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Summary Staff Report:


Under certain circumstances, high-voltage transmission lines can induce electrostatic voltage on objects.  When an induced voltage is present, touching the object can result in a shock. The sensation from voltage induced by an alternating power line is similar, but may continue to be felt as long as contact with the object is maintained.


Several years ago, Fauquier County had an episode of induced voltage in the Lee’s Glen subdivision, just outside of Remington.  Upgrades to a power line induced voltage to gutters and downspouts on homes up to 400 feet away. As noted by a Dominion Virginia Power representative: “The induced voltage on the gutters and down spouts of homes adjacent to the transmission line is not unexpected due to the choice of building materials used in these homes.  The aluminum gutters and downspouts pick up a charge from the electric field created by the transmission line. The… vinyl siding insulates the metallic gutters and down spouts from the ground.”  The purpose of this text amendment is to minimize the potential for such problems.


The Planning Commission held a public hearing on August 25, 2005, left the hearing open, and deferred final action pending further study.  A work session on this issue was conducted on September 27, 2005 with a Dominion Power engineer to help the Planning Commission better understand the problem and possible solutions. Enclosed are copies of the information provided by Dominion Power’s engineer and Dominion Power’s response to the Lee’s Glen incident and a map showing the 500 kV lines in the County.


On September 29, 2005, the Planning Commission held a second public hearing and recommended approval of the attached ordinance to the Board of Supervisors by a 4 – 1 vote.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Economic Development



1.      Proposed Text Amendment

2.      Dominion Power Information

3.      Lee’s Glen Information

4.   Memos Regarding Power Line Setbacks