Overview of Highland County Board of Supervisors’ Meeting on February 6, 2018
The Highland County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, February 6th covered a wide range of topics.
Supervisor David Blanchard was absent from the meeting because of his attendance alongside Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds at a hearing on Senate Bill 680 with the Virginia Senate Committee on Local Government. This bill authorizes Highland County to adopt an ordinance to impose a fee to fund emergency medical services in the county. Senate Bill 680 was reported out of the committee with approval of eight in favor and five opposed, and it now goes back to the Senate for next steps.
No public comments were made at a public hearing on an ordinance to provide for deadlines for the processing of equalization of real estate assessments. Folks with future assessment concerns or questions can go to the Board of Equalization. The Supervisors approved to establish May 1st as the deadline for such applications to come in to that Board, with June 15th as the deadline for that Board to finalize all applications. The Supervisors are still seeking three individuals to be a part of the Board of Equalization as soon as possible, and they tabled a decision on appointing members once again. Anyone interested in being on the Board of Equalization can contact County Administrator Roberta Lambert at 540-468-2347.
Mike Henry with the Virginia Department of Transportation provided updates on county roads and projects. The Board had requested VDOT to look at locations for passing lanes on Rt. 250 between Monterey and Staunton, and Mr. Henry reported that they have located a possible passing zone in Augusta County west of Ramsey’s Draft Bridge.
In order to help guide the Board with conditional use permitting, Vice-Chairman Kevin Wagner also asked if there were any potential VDOzT concerns of impacts with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction. Mr. Henry said Dominion is required to video all the roads they plan to use during construction so that VDOT will be able to assess any damage that may occur and have Dominion repair any damages. VDOT has received requested traffic data from Dominion about entrance requests for laydown yards in McDowell and south of Monterey, and VDOT will determine if right and left turn lanes will be needed. As far as concerns for county roads that may have more traffic and potentially heavier vehicle loads, VDOT must let a vehicle use the road if it is a legally established motor vehicle by DMV law. VDOT will address any issues that may arise internally with Dominion.
In other ACP news, after coming out of a closed session, the Board voted to enter into a contract with Darren Coffey and the Berkley Group, LLC for consulting services related to zoning matters and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Mr. Coffey assisted the county in the zoning ordinance revisions last year.
Also at the meeting, the Board approved a resolution to adopt a comprehensive schedule of zoning fees. Applications for rezoning and conditional use permits will remain at $150 in order to not be burdensome to those requesting them, but all other administrative permits, such as for signs, will increase from $5 to $15.
In other news, The Board made a motion, contingent upon Melissa Dowd’s approval, for the county to operate and clean the vault toilet facilities at the top of Shenandoah Mountain at the Confederate Breastworks for the month of March. This would be an improvement over last year’s solution of putting portable toilets at the Breastworks to keep them open, as well as a more cost-efficient method for the county.
During open public comments near the meeting’s end, county resident Lee Blagg also spoke on behalf of the Highland-Bath Cattle Association about the need for an Extension Agent in the county.