Supervisors & Planning Commission Discuss Highland County Comprehensive Plan
Monterey, VA – The Highland County Board of Supervisors and Highland Planning Commission held a joint work session last week on Tuesday to go over the latest draft of the county’s comprehensive plan. During these discussions each member of the Planning Commission brought up some changes and corrections. Jim Cobb noted the need for guidelines on residential wind turbines and towers.
Cobb says there have already been three residential turbines approved. He says a county policy could streamline the approval process. County Attorney Melissa Dowd agreed to draft guidelines on residential wind turbines and add it to the current draft of the Comprehensive Plan. Following an hour of discussion on revisions to the current draft of the plan, Supervisor Sullenberger summarizes the next step.
“We go back all the way to the very first question in the meeting which was, is this the final draft’?” says Sullenberger. “It’s not, [so] we make a final draft, we give it to you guys to look at and then you say okay, yes we agree we’re ready for a public hearing.”
In other business, the Supervisors reviewed a proposal from an organization called the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain. County Administrator Roberta Lambert read from a letter from a landowner in Laurel Fork who found out about this proposal. The Friends want to create a Shenandoah Mountain scenic area that would encompass 160,000 acres in Highland, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. It would designate Laurel Fork and an area called Lynn Hollow as wilderness areas in Highland County.
This plan includes a request to designate Laurel Fork as a wilderness area. Supervisor Sullenberger provides some additional details on this issue and discusses a response.
“This administration is not likely to be as receptive, plus [Congressman] Goodlatte has said he won’t put any language forward and support it” says Sullenberger. “What they’re going to try to do now is go back to [Senator’s]Warner and Webb and try to gain their support on it. Rockingham County and Augusta County have both come out adamantly opposed to it, and frankly my opinion is, we should do the same.”
Wilderness designation of land in Highland County has come up in past years and has not been supported by the U. S. Forest Service or county officials. The Board passed a motion to draft a letter based on those already written by the Augusta and Rockingham county boards in opposition to this proposal and to distribute it to the adjacent counties and congressional representatives.
In other business, the Supervisors reviewed a request from the Highland Department of Social Services for an appropriation of $1,300 to support continuation of programs for the county’s children and senior citizens. The Board approved that request.
The next meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday, January 4 at 7:30 PM in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey.