Highland County Board of Supervisors’ Work Session Involves Bolar Fire Department’s Status, Future State Park Comments, and More


The Highland County Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly work session on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.  With Chairman Harry Sponaugle absent, Vice-Chairman Kevin Wagner led the meeting along with Supervisor David Blanchard.

In previous months, the Board had met with Bolar Fire Department representatives about a request for First Responder Agency Status.  The Board had planned to review and adopt a resolution to approve that request at the work session.  However, recent email correspondence from Chief Eddie Ailstock and Matt Ratcliffee of the Bolar Fire Department stated that they have officially decided to become a satellite station for The Highland County Rescue Squad to serve both Bath and Highland Counties.  They will not be pursuing First Responder Status.  The Board recorded in the minutes that the request for the resolution has been rescinded, and no action will be taken.

Moving on, the Board received comments they had requested from the group, Friends of Highland County State Park.  The comments will be submitted to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation regarding the 2018 Draft of the Virginia Outdoors Plan.  Member Nancy Witschey was in attendance for a discussion over whether or not to specifically include mention of the Hayfields Farm as an appropriate property for a potential state park in the county.  The Board approved the comments that will specifically include mention of Hayfields Farm.  They also approved sending a letter to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, which is the current owner of Hayfields Farm, to request the county’s involvement in the process that will decide the outcome of that property.

In other business, County Administrator Roberta Lambert reported that a representative of the National Forest had reached out to see what the county can do to help keep the vault toilets maintained at the top of Shenandoah Mountain.  The Board is requesting to have a formal meeting to discuss future plans.

It was also discussed that there will not be a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission to address zoning issues on Thursday, June 28, 2018 due to a lack of prompt advertising.  It is anticipated that at their Thursday meeting, the Planning Commission will ask for the joint public hearing to be held on July 26, 2018 instead.

In addition, the Board approved many new members to various committees.  They approved the appointment of Melvin Arehart and Colby Jackson to vacant terms with the Highland County Recreation Commission.  Tomi Herold was approved for a four-year term on the Economic Development Authority to replace Robin Sullenberger’s term ending on June 30, 2018.  The following appointments or reappointments were approved for Highland County’s Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT): Sheriff David Neil, Dr. Kim Bird, Karen Sweeney, and Sarah Rexrode.  The names for appointments or reappointments to the Family Assessment Planning Team (FAPT) include Emily Malcolm, Sherry Armstrong, Teresa Blum, and Tim Good.  In conclusion, Irish Hooke, Jim Hughes, and Jamie Hughes were appointed to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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