Highlanders for Responsible Development look to expand their mission

Monterey, Va. –

In 2005, several residents of Highland County formed an organization called Highlanders for Responsible Development. The precipitating event that brought those folks together at that time was the proposal by a developer to put several 400 foot tall commercial wind turbines on top of Allegheny Mountain. Since that time the organization has taken an interest in other county issues as well. The current President of Highlanders for Responsible Development, Lewis Freeman, recently described the newly revised mission of the organization.

“Highlanders for Responsible Development is a citizens group that promotes stewardship of Highland’s unspoiled landscape, natural resources and exceptional quality of life,” said Mr. Freeman. “We support policies and activities that are based upon informed community discourse, democratic decision making, prudent land use, and sustainable economic development. Just to elaborate a bit on that. Not long after I joined the Board, I guess it was in 2007, I began to wonder, you know, what are we about and is there indeed a long term reason for this organization to exist,” he said.

In their discussions about HRD and its future mission, members examined some of the unique properties of the county and its residents.

“We talked about the uniqueness of Highland County, first of all, I think are the people,” said Mr. Freeman. “Everyone thinks that their community is unique, but this particularly unique because most everyone is here because they want to be here, and why do they want to be here? They have a common bonding in that and so there is an incredible sense of community in Highland County. And I think it helps make this a very unique place. I think that is because of the people who have chosen to be here and to stay here,” he said.

In addition to the people and their way of life, HRD members identified another important feature of the county.

“The second is this incredible natural beauty of this county,” said Mr. Freeman. “It is unlike any place I have been in the United States, or the world. There’s so much here to see and there’s so much here to savor. Everyone thinks that their community is special, but I am bolstered in my view by whenever we have visitors, from outside of Highland County or outside of Virginia, and they go away saying I’ve never seen anything like this’. It is special, and that is why I think Highlanders for Responsible Development have a special purpose to make sure that whatever development takes place, is responsible, and by that we mean that it’s in harmony with the nature that is already here and in harmony with the way of life we have here in Highland County,” he said.

Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio on Monday for more from my interview with Lewis Freeman, President of Highlanders for Responsible Development.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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