Dominion's plans for emergency ops center approved by Norwich Commission on the City Plan

Norwich - Dominion power company's plan to build a $5 million to $10 million emergency operations center in the Norwich business park received unanimous approval Tuesday from the Commission on the City Plan.

The commission quickly approved a subdivision of the property owned by Easter Seals Capital Region and Eastern Connecticut Inc. at 24 Stott Ave. and then reviewed and approved the 16,320-square-foot proposed emergency operations center building and 75 associated parking on both sides of the building.

The commission voted that Dominion would have to post a performance bond for half the $309,000 site work cost.

Dominion announced the plan Aug. 30 to build an office building on 4.3 acres of what is now wooded land to the right of the main entrance and parking lot at the Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium.

Planning Director Peter Davis told the Commission on the City Plan that Dominion planned to seek permission to use the Dodd Stadium or Easter Seals lots for overflow parking if needed during emergency drills or actual emergency situations.

Project engineer Thomas Cummings said the metal rectangular building would be two-toned with green- tinted windows. Garage doors to the rear would allow vehicles with special equipment to park inside.

The facility would house the emergency operations center for Millstone Power Station. Tom Bransfield, project manager for Dominion, said the building would be used during quarterly drills at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, for planning meetings and other uses. He said normal usage would be "light."

The facility also would be used to store equipment and for planning meetings.

If an emergency occurred at the Millstone nuclear power station in Waterford, the operations center would serve as the command center with about 50 responders, with computers, communications equipment and the ability to dispatch crews to test air or soil in an affected area, David A. Smith, manager of the Emergency Preparedness Department for Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Smith told the Norwich Community Development Corp. board of directors last month.

NCDC, which has authority over designs of business park projects, reviewed the plans at its September meeting and the Business Park Committee reviewed and approved the plans in late September.

Dominion would pay property taxes on the facility.

c.bessette@theday.com

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