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Coal plant opponents file lawsuit against Dendron Town Council

SURRY — Opponents of a proposed coal-fueled power plant in Dendron have filed a lawsuit alleging that the Dendron Town Council violated state code last month when it approved land-use permits for the facility.

The Dendron Town Council approved controversial rezoning applications and conditional-use permits after a Feb. 1 public hearing that would allow Old Dominion Electric Cooperative to build its 1,500-megawatt plant on 1,200 acres in Dendron. The Surry County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved land-use ordinances for the portion of the facility that would be located outside the town limits on Feb. 4.

The suit, filed in Surry Circuit Court late Tuesday, alleges that the town's advertisements did not indicate a vote would be taken and that Mayor Yvonne Pierce, in the board's Jan. 4 meeting, specifically said the board would not vote at the February meeting.

The lawsuit, which was also filed against Old Dominion, also says that the land-use descriptions provided in the town's legal advertisements and council information packets did not include the necessary details required for rezoning application ads.

The lawsuit asks the courts to nullify the Dendron Town Council's actions.

Pierce declined to comment on the lawsuit, referring all questions to Dendron's Town Attorney C.F. Faison, who could not be reached late Tuesday. Pierce said she had not received a copy of the lawsuit.

The suit was filed by Surry County residents Michael Drewry, Helen Eggleston, John Pond and Willie Richardson, all property owners near the proposed power plant. All have publicly opposed the plant during previous county and town meetings.

Drewry said the group decided to move forward with the suit because they felt that residents' concerns weren't being heard by the town or company officials. He said Old Dominion has failed to respond to several questions he has about the possibility that part of facility's rail line would pass through his farm outside Dendron.

Drewry said he doesn't expect to file litigation against the county.

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