CURB Press Release

posted Oct 19, 2014, 5:26 AM by Site administrator

-- Monday, October 12, 2014 PRESS RELEASE – 


Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia (October 12, 2014).--On October 3, 2014, Appalachian Power Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company (“AEP/APCO”) filed a legal action against Bill Nissen and his family in the U.S. District Court to stop them from constructing a dock on their property. Nissen, a small business owner, owns the land where his dock is placed. He had received all legally required building and zoning permits from Franklin County and is in full compliance with State and local regulations. 

On September 12, 1960 the original owner of Nissen’s lot granted APCo the right to flood a portion of the property and reserved for all future property owners the right to access the lake for recreational purposes. AEP/APCO now claims that its new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license grants them the authority to deny all waterfront property owners access to their own property for the purpose of building a dock. AEP/APCO demands all waterfront owners apply for a Permit, in deference to its license and Virginia property law. AEP/APCO’s Permit is designed to replace deeded access rights with the plethora of complicated, inconsistent and unenforceable regulations in AEP/APCO’s Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). AEP/APCO will not tolerate Permit modifications to make it consistent with Virginia property law and ownership rights.

AEP/APCO now argues that its federal license requires it to permit Nissen’s dock and filed legal action in U.S. District Court to stop him from building a dock on his property. This legal action is a taking of Mr. Nissen’s property rights without compensation.

CURB has engaged The Law Offices of Bart S. Fisher in Washington DC to assist Nissen and end this unconstitutional assault upon Virginia property rights. “CURB is supporting Bill Nissen in his efforts to vigorously defend his right to build his dock upon his property,” said Bill Brush, the President and Founder of CURB. “Consider what happens if AEP defeats Nissen with its legal maneuvers. AEP/APCO and FERC will grow more aggressive, invent more rules and seize control of all shoreline property rights. We can all expect to be charged for permits, inspections and to pay annual fees for residential docks and marina slips -- don’t believe it -- FERC says they can and it’s happening today at Lake of the Ozarks. FERC needs to stop its unconstitutional overreach and let AEP/APCO do what it does best -- generate power. This is everyone’s fight, and the community should support Bill Nissen,” Brush said.

“The arbitrary action by AEP against Mr. Nissen is an unconstitutional assertion of regulatory authority that, if enforced, would violate the property rights of the property owners around Smith Mountain Lake,” said Bart S. Fisher, counsel for CURB. ”The assertion of authority by AEP over Smith Mountain Lake residents beyond its very limited flowage easement license violates not only property rights but also the rights of the state of Virginia to regulate what is an inherently local matter, property ownership,” Fisher said.

Read Appalachian Power's Lawsuit Filed Against Bill NIssen