(This episode was initially posted as part of the June 5, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)
A plan to update a hydroelectric plant at the Jefferson Mill Dam on the Hardware River obtained a recommendation of approval from the Albemarle Planning Commission on June 1, but not without a tough question intended as a softball. In beginning of the 21st century, construction of dams is strongly discouraged in most cases, with the exception of impoundment for water supply. But the Jefferson Mill Dam dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. Bill Fritz is the county’s development process manager. (staff report)
“The existing dam and the adjacent building date to the 1800’s and the mill building is now used as a home,” Fritz said.
Power has been generated at the location for much of that time, but the proposal is to update the turbine that’s within an underground water room through which a diverted portion of the river flows.
“The project will improve the outfall from the water room, install new inlets to bring water to the turbine,” Fritz said. “The applicant has submitted by far the most extensive and complete application I’ve seen in thirty plus years I’ve worked for the county.”Read more