In a meeting with county representatives on February 3, the VPC and other community groups were informed by BGE that they would not be pursuing the development of a regional substation at the former Camp Holiday site on Kemp Road. The VPC and Hanover Road Association strongly opposed the Camp Holiday site due to its location within the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area. Instead, the utility will pursue development of the substation at an alternative site that the community helped identify.

At the February 3 meeting, BGE spokesman Rob Gould announced that the four properties needed for the alternative site were all under contract and that the company would be filing a special exception request and submitting a development plan. BGE representatives expressed their appreciation for the collaborative effort, and community leaders applauded BGE’s willingness to consider community concerns and explore other options. There has been a high-level of involvement and cooperation with the community and county agencies, and that is expected to continue as the project moves forward.

BGE purchased the initial Camp Holiday site in June of 2010, touching off immediate concerns by neighbors, many of whom had already given up development rights on their properties in favor of conservation easements that preserve the land for agricultural purposes. The VPC and Hanover Road Association formed a joint committee to address concerns and help find a workable solution.

BGE responded to concerns with a series of large and small meetings over a 20-month period. When an alternative site was identified, BGE agreed to work on a dual track, pursuing plans for both locations. Due to time constraints placed on the utility by the regional transmission organization PJM, BGE set a deadline of January 31, 2012 to secure the alternative site. Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of many, the alternative site was secured, and it appears to be a win-win situation. BGE prefers the alternative site because it better suits their needs and is closer to the Northwest Substation, and the community prefers the alternative site because it is not within a designated rural legacy area and does not have the access issues and impacts faced at the Camp Holiday site.

The VPC appreciates the hard work of the special project committee formed to work on this issue, the representatives of BGE who worked diligently to make the alternative site a reality, the County Executive and agency staff who encouraged a satisfactory resolution, and Delegate Dana Stein who, through his participation on the board of the Maryland Environmental Trust, understood the community’s concerns and fostered discussions with key players throughout the process.