Highland Supervisors November Work Session
The Highland Board of Supervisors approved funding to support an educational workshop for landowners affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project in their Wednesday evening work session. During their October regular meeting, the Supervisors had requested that EDA chair Nancy Witschey ask her organization to create the framework for such an event. Ms. Witschey reported back to the Board with the results Wednesday, suggesting a two part workshop. The first portion would be a broad overview of what landowners could expect if contacted by Dominion, or any other energy company, intending to cross property for pipeline construction – the second portion would be the “nuts and bolts” of legal considerations, including leasing and eminent domain, which would be handled by an experienced attorney.
Potential candidates for presenting at this event were named – Bob Hart and Emily Wagner from Hartpetro, an independent energy company specializing in oil and gas matters; and attorney Joe Waldo, who’s firm specializes in eminent domain issues. A possible date of December 6th was mentioned.
During discussion, it was noted that information had circulated in the county about the potential that Mr. Waldo may be offering to represent landowners free of charge, as reported yesterday on Allegheny Mountain Radio, and therefore may not be a suitable candidate for presenting. County attorney Melissa Dowd agreed to follow up with Mr. Waldo.
The Board passed a motion allocating an amount of no more than $2,500 to facilitate this event, pending Ms. Dowd’s approval of the speakers and firm setting of the date and location.
In a related topic, District Ranger Pat Sheridan and Ken Landgraf of the U.S. Forest Service were in attendance to update the Board on the newly signed forest plan for the George Washington National Forest. These plans are typically released every 15 years, and provide an over-arching management direction, including public use, harvesting, mineral rights and more. This particular plan has implications for the national forest lands in Highland, including the leasing of 10,000 acres for mineral rights development. Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for an in depth report on this presentation.
In other items on the agenda, the Board:
- Approved a resolution creating a Virginia Mountain Region for tourism purposes
- Approved the contract proposal from Allied Waste for the county’s trash and recycling
- Voted to accept a proposal from the Berkley Group to update the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances.
- Set December 17th as the date for a public hearing on the amended personal property tax
- Voted to recommend Lee Taplinger and Troy Baxley for appointment to the VPAS Board to represent Highland County.
- And reviewed applications for the combined position of Building Official, Erosion and Sediment Control Administrator and E911 Addressing Coordinator. The County Administrator was directed to begin scheduling interviews.