Highland County Board of Supervisors August Meeting

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting on August 2.

The meeting opened with Sheriff David Neil addressing the Board.  He announced his retirement, effective September 1, 2022.  Supervisor Harry Sponaugle said Sheriff Neil had done a good job and he hated to see him leave.  Sheriff Neil said it was time as he wanted to enjoy life a bit.  Following the meeting, the Board went into closed session with Sheriff Neil.

County Attorney Melissa Dowd gave the Board the most recent draft of a letter she wrote, at the Board’s request, on the proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area.  The proposal will designate 3,500 acres of Lynn Hollow as wilderness area, making it unavailable for future development.  The previous version of the letter stated the Board’s opposition to the proposal.  She said Supervisor Blanchard had made some proposed changes which she incorporated into the latest version of the letter.  She said it now states that Highland is not voting for or against the proposal, because it will have positive impacts for watershed protection for Augusta and Rockingham Counties.  The letter says that the proposal will not have a positive impact on Highland, that the Board didn’t have much of a chance to negotiate for or against the proposal and that the Board is hesitant to permanently establish roadblocks to development for the future.  The letter says that the Board objects to the proposal for Highland, but recognizes the benefit it will have for Augusta and Rockingham, so there’s no objection to the proposal for those areas.  Dowd explained that since Rockingham and Augusta Counties have helped Highland on a number of things, and the proposal benefits their watersheds, Supervisor Blanchard felt strongly that this Board should not be on record opposing something that will help those counties.  Supervisors John Moyers, Jr. and Harry Sponaugle voted to approve the letter.  Supervisor David Blanchard was absent from the meeting.

The Board appointed Aaron Thaler to fill a vacancy on the Economic Development Authority.  Thaler was serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals, which was a position that did not allow members to serve on other boards.  She resigned from the BZA in order to join the EDA.

The Board also appointed School Superintendent Dr. Drew Maerz to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

County Attorney Melissa Dowd reminded everyone that the Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge is this Saturday, August 6.   She said drivers should be mindful of cyclists on the roads.  The cyclists will be on Route 220, Route 250 and Route 84.  Also, throughout the Blue Grass area and on Jack Mountain, to Shaw’s Ridge, where they will turn towards Sugar Grove, West Virginia and travel over Hoover Mountain.   Cyclists will be on the roads all day Saturday.

Story By

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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