Highland Residents Express Concern over Housing Study at January EDA Meeting

Olivia Raines from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission gave a presentation at the January Highland County EDA meeting to discuss the housing study that is currently underway in the county.


Raines answered questions, many of which dealt with the short-term rental recommendations in the study, and addressed the background of the study and the connection to the broader area of the Allegheny Highlands, as well as the housing issues that are currently being faced.


The study is currently taking place, with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission seeking input. The plan is for the study to wrap in June of this year. 


Several local landlords and short-term rental owners were at the meeting to express their concerns, especially when it comes to taxation and the lack of long-term rentals that were cited in the first draft of the study.


Janice Warner, who owns many rental properties in the area, was concerned that she was never approached for comment on the study. 


Letitia Amirault, CEO of Highland Medical Center, said she recently lost a medical provider when they were unable to locate a rental option, even with help from locals at HMC. It was reported in the study that Highland County Public Schools also cited lack of housing as a roadblock to hiring in the county. 


Amirault asked that there be incentives offered for builders to construct places for these types of newcomers to the county to live:


“Where are the incentives to get someone to build a nicer couple of condominiums for people making a higher wage to live in?”


Highland County residents still have time to give their thoughts on the draft of the study. These should be directed to Jonathan Knopf, who is writing the draft, at jonathan@hdadvisors.net.

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Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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