VB homeowner fights to get generator relocated

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) –  A woman concerned about a public utilities project has succeeded in getting the city to go back to the drawing board.

Tracie Harris lives on Harton Circle in the Birchwood Gardens section, and Virginia Beach Public Utilities maintains a pumping station next door. Site preparation to install a generator began recently when a contractor dug a hole 33-feet-long for a concrete pad. Harris says she didn’t realize at first how large the generator would be.

“I came to find out they were going to put a generator as tall as my house, nearly as big as my house, twenty feet from my bedroom, blocking access to my backyard.”

The city says once the generator is enclosed by a fence, it will be about 33-feet-long, 14-feet-wide and eight-feet-tall.

Harris complained to the city and called 10 On Your Side. The city issued a stop work order, and on Friday, the contractor was refilling the hole. The senior project manager says the city will look at an alternate site on the property. It would be away from Harris’s home, but presents some problems of its own.

“There’s actually some electrical lines, there’s a storm drain, there’s a ravine behind the station,” said Becky Mitchell with Virginia Beach Public Utilities.

The generator is among several the city says are necessary so that its sewage treatment system will run, regardless of emergencies. It would run once a week for a brief period, about half an hour, to ensure readiness, and otherwise only during power outages.

Harris says she understands the need for the generator, but doesn’t want it right outside her bedroom window.

“Obviously, I’m fighting to have it moved, because it’s just too close to my home.”

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