25 August 2014 CURB Meeting

posted Sep 6, 2014, 11:26 AM by Site administrator   [ updated Sep 26, 2014, 5:58 AM ]
  We had over 100 interested supporters attend our 25 August meeting at Staunton River High School.  The purpose of the meeting was to update Smith Mountain Lake property owners and interested citizens on AEP's practices concerning docks, practices that affect every property owner and actions CURB is undertaking to protect your property rights.  If you missed this CURB meeting,  the speaker notes are available HERE.  Many thanks to Staunton River High School and Bedford County District 2 Supervisor Curry Martin, for hosting and coordinating this meeting.

CURB considers lawsuit 

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 4:24 pm | Updated: 10:57 am, Wed Sep 3, 2014. 

By JASON DUNOVANT Smith Mountain Eagle 

Smith Mountain Lake resident Bill Brush is continuing to gather support in his ongoing battle with Appalachian Power and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.   Brush organized another meeting of his non-profit Cut Unnecessary Regulatory Burden, Inc. at Staunton River High School on Tuesday. Close to 100 lake area residents joined Brush in the meeting sponsored by Bedford County’s District 2 Supervisor Curry Martin. 

Several lakefront property owners have shown their support for CURB’s recent efforts in the form of donations. Brush announced on Tuesday that he has used those donations pursue legal representation. He has provided his research to law firm in Washington D.C. that will be forming a legal package that may go toward an eventual lawsuit. 

Until that time, Brush continued to ask lakefront property owners to be wary of any permits required by Appalachian Power. As he did in a previous CURB meeting, Brush recommended that property owners not sign any dock permit or other similar permits from Appalachian Power.   According to Brush, each lakefront property owner has a Flowage Rights and Easement Deed that is part of the deed for the property. Brush believes that these flowage rights are all that is necessary to build and maintain a dock on the lake. 

The Flowage Rights and Easement Deeds are part of the original contract with the landowners when the property below the 800 foot contour of the lake was purchased and flooded for the Smith Mountain Lake Project 50 years ago. Among other things, the flowage rights gave property owners access to the water for recreation. Brush argued that a dock is well within a property owner’s right as part of the flowage rights that were agreed to when the lake was formed. 

According to Brush, signing any dock permit or taking part in the Legacy Program from Appalachian Power takes away those flowage rights. The permit forces a landowner to agree to Appalachian Power’s terms and conditions. “If it is different from your property rights, you shouldn’t sign it,” Brush said. He also said that those residents that did sign a dock permit may have done so without being told all the rights they were giving away. If Appalachian Power can be proven to have misled a landowner, the permit could become invalid. 

Brush also mentioned the federal court case between Appalachian Power and lake residents Stephen and Donna Arthur. The case was referenced in a previous edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle. The judge ruled in the case that the Arthur’s were required to remove changes to their dock that were made without a permit from Appalachian Power. Brush said that the case was not a proper representation of Appalachian Power’s authority. He said the Arthur’s did not contest the property rights asserted by Appalachian Power.  Brush also said that they refused any help from CURB and went into the case without legal representation. 

According to Brush, there are many cases where lakefront property owners challenged the authority of Appalachian Power and won. He said there were many others that were quietly settled by Appalachian Power. 

Brush encouraged everyone in attendance to obtain a copy of their Flowage Rights and Easement Deeds as well as read the most recent Shoreline Management Plan approved by FERC. He also asked that they all continue to support CURB. 

“We are gonna need everybody’s support because this is a big deal. And we are gonna win this,” Brush said. 

To read more of this and other stories, pick up a copy of this week's Smith Mountain Eagle on newsstands. Subscribe online by clicking this link: http://www.smithmountaineagle.com/site/services/ or by calling 719-5100. A year's subscription, which is just $29 in Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania County, also gives you free access to the Smith Mountain Eagle’s e-edition, an online version of the entire newspaper.