Meigs County landowners join TVA lawsuit

Posted 12/23/18

Attorneys representing three property owners in Georgetown have filed suit asking Federal Judge Sandy Mattice to set aside a court ruling granting the Tennessee Valley Authority immediate access to …

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Meigs County landowners join TVA lawsuit


Attorneys representing three property owners in Georgetown have filed suit asking Federal Judge Sandy Mattice to set aside a court ruling granting the Tennessee Valley Authority immediate access to their property for a planned transmission line project.

The property owners —  John and Bridget Vantiegham, Nellie Mae Carter and Cornerstone Farm— are represented by Chattanooga attorneys Roger W. Dickson, C. Crews Townsend and M. Height Frost. 

The filings join a lawsuit filed by another landowner, Greg Vital, who filed suit Dec. 7 as first reported by the Cleveland Daily Banner.

The TVA project – codenamed “Project Viper” –  would construct a $26 million new transmission line that would begin at its Sequoyah Nuclear plant and extend northwest about 5.25 miles to the proposed Gunstocker Creek station, which will be located at the intersections of Highways 58 and 60 in Meigs County.

The line will also run through portions of Bradley and Hamilton counties, connecting to the planned systems’ control facility. 

About 4.25 miles of existing line will be torn down and replaced with double-circuit poles. 

The transmission line project is projected to be completed by 2021.

In addition, the project will relocate the agency’s  downtown Chattanooga operations center to a 185,000-square-foot systems control facility, which will be located on 167 acres near Georgetown and Gunstocker Creek in Meigs County. It is expected to be completed and running by 2023. 

About 175 employees will be transferred from the current aging facility.

The TVA filed a lawsuit against Vital, as well as other area property owners last month with the same court, which later ruled in favor of the agency. 

According to Vital, “the briefs ask the Aug. 30 order be set aside and requests that the TVA file specific documents to establish a ‘temporary right to enter’ the private property; define the activities the TVA may perform on the property and the times they may perform these activities; define the property rights the owners retain during what TVA calls a ‘temporary' taking; and alternatively, asks that  the Court set aside the order because the TVA failed to deposit just compensation for the private property.”    

Below is a timeline of events related to the controversial project:

  • On Aug. 27, local media reported for the first time TVA was moving its power control center and 175 employees out of downtown Chattanooga to Meigs County.

 • On Aug. 30, TVA held a public meeting in Georgetown attended by several hundred local residents.

 • In September, TVA’s filed a permit with the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation to build a self-contained sewer plant on the site. The permit revealed TVA had named the initiative Project Viper and  the agency had been working on the project for two years.

 • Vital met with TVA officials twice to discuss the routes of the transmission line and access to the property without any substantive concessions from TVA. 

 • On Nov. 20, TVA filed lawsuits against four property owners in four different Tennessee jurisdictions.

 • On Nov. 30, TVA requested and was granted immediate access to the property. 

• On Dec. 7, Greg Vital files suit asking a previous court order granting TVA access to his land be set aside.

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