Highland County Planning Commission’s August 2023 Meeting

The Highland County Planning Commission held it’s monthly meeting on August 24.  This story was written from the draft minutes of that meeting, since no one from Allegheny Mountain Radio was in attendance.

It was a joint meeting with the Highland County Board of Supervisors, since two public hearings were held.

The first public hearing was on a rezoning application for property owned by Benjamin Hansel, Jonathan Hansel, Janine Bailey and Sybil Hutchins. The property was zoned Industrial and the request was made to change the zoning to Agriculture.  The property is located on Bullpasture River Road, half a mile south of McDowell.  The applicants felt the rezoning to Agriculture would be a more appropriate zoning.  The Planning Commission voted to give a favorable recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the rezoning.  The Board of Supervisors then voted to approve the rezoning to Agriculture.

The second public hearing was for a Conditional Use Permit application for a diesel mechanic shop, for commercial vehicle repair, at 185 Lightner Drive.   The applicant is Tyler Lightner and the property owners are Herb and Teresa Lightner.  The applicant said shop hours would be Monday through Friday, 4 to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 5pm.  He also said he anticipated having 3 to 4 vehicles per week for repair at the shop.

There was discussion about the entrance and the driveway to the shop and the VDOT requirements for it, including widening the right-of-way.

Property owner, Herb Lightner, explained the driveway is a joined driveway with Virginia Smith.  He said he worked on the driveway in return for the right-of-way.   The right-of-way is not recorded, but he said he has a copy.

Two people spoke in favor of the applicant and an additional letter in favor of the applicant was read at the meeting.

One speaker expressed concern about allowing the general public to use private roads in Agricultural zoning, saying private roads are substandard in many ways.

Another speaker, representing neighboring landowners, expressed concern about no plan for proper recycling of vehicle fluids, excessive noise, damage to the roadway and VDOT requirements exceeding the right-of-way.

County Attorney Melissa Dowd suggested a continuance on the public hearing in order to get the right-of-way paperwork.

The Planning Commission voted to continue the public hearing until it’s next meeting which is Thursday, September 28, at 7:30 at the Highland Modular Conference Center in Monterey.

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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