Highland County Board of Supervisors November 2023 Work Session

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly work session on November 15.

The Board adopted a thirty day burn ban for Highland County effective immediately.  The burn ban prohibits all outside burning, including burning in containers.  The burn pit at the Highland County Solid Waste Center will also be closed for thirty days.  No materials will be accepted there during that time.  Depending on conditions, the ban could be canceled early or extended longer.

The Board voted unanimously to deny the Conditional Use Permit application from Tyler Lightner.   The application was for a diesel mechanic shop for commercial vehicle repair at 185 Lightner Drive.   Lightner previously indicated that his mechanic work was a hobby and he did not intend to work on farm machinery or heavy equipment.  He said he worked on vehicles for family and friends, mostly without compensation, as he got paid, but there was no profit.   The Planning Commission had voted to send a favorable recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the Conditional Use Permit, with conditions on the number of vehicles for repair, shop hours, installation of a privacy fence for the benefit of neighbors, installation of a fence to contain livestock and VDOT approval of the entrance for commercial use.  At the Supervisors work session, Board members agreed they could not support the application because the property is very close to a neighbor who is opposed to the application, also the applicant indicated that the conditions may not be acceptable and also because it is a hobby and not the applicant’s full time job.  With the denial of the Conditional Use Permit, Tyler Lightner is not allowed to operate a business on the property.

Highland County has been approved as a Drought Designation Area by the US Department of Agriculture.  The designation makes assistance and resources available for Highland farmers.  They are eligible to apply for assistance programs offered by the Farm Services Agency.  For more information, call 804-287-1503 or email Dr. Ronald M. Howell at Ronald.Howell@usda.gov

County Attorney Melissa Dowd reported that the county has a Drought Management Ordinance in place.  She said the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that Highland is in a drought, with the eastern most part of the county in extreme drought, the central part in severe drought and the western part in moderate drought.  Based on the Drought Management Ordinance, the Board approved the preparation of a resolution for the county and for McDowell residents and businesses on public water.  The Board plans to vote on the resolution at it’s December meeting.  Melissa Dowd also said the Virginia DEQ currently lists Highland as normal in it’s drought monitors.  The Board approved sending a letter to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force to inform the DEQ on Highland’s drought status.

Wingate Appraisal Service is planning to mail out property reassessment notices on November 21.  Hearings with the assessors will be held November 30, December 1, December 5 and December 7 in the courtroom at the courthouse.

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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