Highland County Planning Commission’s July Meeting

The Highland County Planning Commission held its monthly meeting July 28.

At the meeting, there was a joint public hearing with the Board of Supervisors on an application for a Conditional Use Permit for a bed and breakfast at 216 Potomac River Road in Monterey.

The property is zoned R1.  The applicant and owner of the property is John McNamara.  His family also owns the house next door and the house at 216 Potomac River Road will be used for family visits and as an Airbnb rental.    McNamara also explained that he will be there at first to get it started and then will be looking for help to manage the property, when he returns to his home in California.   The property is on a double lot, it has three bedrooms and room for parking.  Up to six cars will be allowed.

There were no public comments on the application at the meeting.  Planning and Zoning Administrator Josh Simmons also said he did not receive any comments about the application, but he heard a concern regarding renters with dogs that might chase nearby livestock.  McNamara said he had not decided on a pet policy yet for the rental, but may only approve pets on a case-by-case basis.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the Conditional Use Permit application.  Then the Board of Supervisors voted to accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation and also approved the application.

There was also another public hearing held at the meeting.  This one was on the updated county Comprehensive Plan.   Josh Simmons explained there was a lot of input, as the plan was completely rewritten and the Planning Commission, County Attorney Melissa Dowd, Building and Zoning Clerk Amy Gaus, the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission and the community all contributed.   He also said the transportation section now brings the county into compliance with state law.    It was explained that the plan is not much different, but the update now contains current information.  County Attorney Melissa Dowd said Amy Gaus was instrumental in creating the update by collecting information from organizations and that the update never would have happened without her.    There were no comments during the public hearing at the meeting and Josh Simmons said he had not received any public comments.  The Planning Commission approved the updated Comprehensive Plan and it will now go to the Board of Supervisors and to the Monterey Town Council for public hearings.

And the Planning Commission voted to approve the continuation of a Conditional Use Permit for Good Excavating.

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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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