Highland/Pocahantas Residents Comment On Hooke Brothers Lumber Company Site Rezoning
Monterey, VA – Several Highland and Pocahantas County residents were on hand to speak at the recent Planning Commission/ Board of Supervisors joint meeting and public hearing on rezoning the Hooke Brothers Lumber Company property in Mill Gap. Monterey Mayor Janice Warner spoke in favor of the rezoning.
“I am certainly for this,” she says. “One of the things that we hear constantly is there’s no jobs’. Even if we only have one job created from this, it would be worthwhile. Plus, we have looked at what they have presented here; it looks like a well run, well established business that they have. When we look at the property that’s there now, it would certainly enhance what’s there now and as far as the things that we hear that may be detrimental to the area, I don’t think any of them hold any weight.”
“I think this would be an addition to our community; it’s time that we let some things come in here and I think that this would certainly be welcomed and an enhancement.”
Supporting statements were also made by Sherry Radcliff, Office Manager of Allegheny Disposal, one of Mr. Meck’s businesses, Mike O’Brien, a Meck employee, Terry King of Vanderpool, Randy Hooke of Monterey, and Charles Sheets, owner of Sheets GMC in Green Bank, WV. Sheets GMC is located directly across the road from Mr. Meck’s business in Green Bank.
“I could not ask for a better neighbor to have business adjacent to ours,” says Sheets. “Malinda and Jacob have tremendous energy and organizational skills in keeping their business enterprises going. Where they locate, they will be an asset to any community. In my experience, if business prospers in a location, property values in the area will rise as well as the standard of living.”
“This would also be a source of tax revenue for Highland County and the state of Virginia. And if I were sitting on this board tonight, I have no environmental concern with the Mecks business venture.”
Those with questions about the rezoning or speaking in opposition included Cindy and Tom Benson, Beth Armstrong, Donna Hooke, and Luanne Scott. Several of these speakers live adjacent to or near the Hooke Brothers Lumber Company site. Their concerns include the possibility contamination of Townsend’s Draft and nearby residential water sources, the history of flooding on this site, and the effect of the Meck businesses on adjacent property values. Here’s Beth Armstrong.
“So what is the rush here,” she asks. “If this certainly is a big deal for our county, we do need businesses, because we kept losing them; any business certainly would help. As I said in the beginning, all I’m asking you folks to do is take a deep breath, step back and do your homework. Know exactly what Mr. Meck wants in there, know exactly if it’s compatible with the area, if it’s an asset and what the risks are. And then you can balance them out at that time.”
Luanne Scott added her concerns.
“I think there is no reason to be extremely quick in making the decision,” she says. “I believe that there are enough concerns and I believe there’s enough questions that haven’t been answered. It is about the health and welfare of the county and I don’t think there are enough answers to questions that have been proffered, that you can make a decision that will be an effective decision to cover all the bases.”
The Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning last week, but is waiting to hear from the Forest Service regarding any concerns they have about this rezoning. Deliberations on a conditional use permit for the Meck businesses are scheduled for the January 26 meeting of the Planning Commission.