Highland Board of Supervisors May Meeting

At the Highland County Board of Supervisors May meeting, a public hearing was held on the VDOT Secondary Road Six Year Improvement Plan.  Assistant VDOT Resident Engineer Alvin Trout presented the plan.  Trout said VDOT was not able to add any new projects to the program, even in neighboring localities, due to the current high cost of materials.  The Board voted to approve the VDOT Six Year Plan as presented.

Trout also discussed other VDOT work, including a bridge project on Route 220 at Strait Creek and another bridge project on Route 640.  It will be several years before work begins on those.  Maintenance activities that are planned include grading on Route 614, patching on both primary and secondary roads, pipe replacement on Route 678 south of McDowell and review of several areas on Route 613.  Trout also reported that funding has been set aside for guardrail installation on Route 220 at the stone wall.  The installation may be completed by the end of the summer.

As part of the VDOT presentation, the damaged sidewalk located in Doe Hill was discussed.  Tree roots have damaged it and Trout said the damaged area could be replaced or the sidewalk could be removed. He said it was the Board’s decision.  Supervisor David Blanchard suggested getting input from Doe Hill residents on what they wanted to do with the sidewalk.

In other business, County Attorney Melissa Dowd provided information to Board members on the proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area legislation.   The proposal is to put 92,000 acres into National Scenic Area and within that will be four Wilderness Areas.  She included a draft of a letter she wrote in opposition to the legislation, based on previous comments from Supervisors Harry Sponaugle and John Moyers, Jr.    She gave the Board information on what is proposed for Lynn Hollow and information outlining the differences between a Wilderness Area and a National Scenic Area.  Currently Lynn Hollow is classified by the George Washington National Forest as a Roadless Area.  The proposal includes about 6,000 acres in Highland County that are not classified as Wilderness now, but are currently classified as a Roadless Conservation Area.   In the proposal, out of those 6,000 acres, 3,500 acres would become Wilderness Area and the remaining would become National Scenic Area.  Dowd will do further research on Roadless Areas to see what the current limitations are.  She said the Roadless Area Rule was created in 2001 and those areas are off limits to road construction and timber projects.  She added that 84% of the Shenandoah Mountain proposal is made up of Roadless Areas.

And the Board appointed Kristian Jennings to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

And Supervisor David Blanchard was reappointed to the Bath-Highland Network Authority.

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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