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Strasburg plan outlines town's future

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Strasburg's Community Plan stands ready for approval after years of discussion about the town's goals and needs for the next 40 years.

Town Council plans to vote on the document at its meeting Tuesday. No one spoke at the public hearing on the draft of the document last Tuesday. But as Town Manager Judson Rex explained, Strasburg officials and council have discussed the plan, taken comments from the public and incorporated that input into the crafting of the document.

The plan looks at the town's needs and land-use goals to 2052. The plan's area of study goes beyond the current town boundaries and addresses land uses in adjacent parts of Shenandoah County. Strasburg covers 3.6 square miles or 2,274 acres. The plan looks at an area of approximately 9 square miles or 6,000 acres - more than twice the town's current size.

"We looked at a larger area and the town isn't necessarily going to turn into the study area," Rex said.

The plan incorporates 40 years of projected growth, which includes a population increase to 12,000 people, according to Rex. In response to the growth, the plan outlines how much land the town would need for commercial, industrial and residential use. Much of the future residential land lies in areas already approved for that use, such as Cedar Valley, Derby Ridge and Homewood. But Rex noted that while the plan includes agricultural and residential land outside the town, that doesn't mean all of the area would be developed in the 40-year period.

"We want to keep a border of a transition area of rural-residential and agricultural use area around the town and keep our growth compact and close-knit within the town limits," Rex said.

The town also wants to maintain the rural feel of Va. 55 in the area east of the industrial park, according to Rex.

"You have a beautiful view of Signal Knob as you come down that road and so we included some rural-residential to try and preserve that," Rex said.

The draft does include the goal to push for the development of a mixed-use village in Cedar Valley across U.S. 11 from the Food Lion shopping center. The site is currently zoned as separate areas of residential and commercial. Officials and council decided to expand mixed-use commercial on the first floor with residential on subsequent stories - as a category for future land development into the area known as the "Golden Triangle." Such use exists along King Street downtown.

The draft plan also aims at keeping the highway commercial development along U.S. 11 between the interstate and Founders Landing, Rex explained. Beyond that area commercial development would change to other uses such as offices and other businesses.

An annexation agreement between Strasburg and Shenandoah County allows the town to expand any of the study area not beyond Interstate 81, Rex explained. A major difference between the current plan and the new, proposed document however expands the study area beyond the highway near the interchange with U.S. 11 and across from an industrial park in the county which the town could also annex in the future.

"It's a 40-year plan and, within a 40-year period, there's gonna be a lot of change in the town and it makes sense to look outside the boundaries of what's been studied before," Rex said.

The town would need to discuss with the county any interest in annexing the land on the other side of the interstate included in the new plan, Rex said. Town officials throughout the process talked with county leaders to make sure Strasburg's plan coincided with the county's plan.

Land outside the town limits in the study area likely would remain zoned for agricultural use, according to Rex. The town does not see much commercial development in the areas outside the study.

Town officials incorporated input from the public into the plan. Rex explained that the town had envisioned possible development in an area north of Strasburg outside the limits. After several Shenandoah County residents expressed concern about that idea the town officials and leaders changed the future land use goal for that area keeping it rural residential, Rex explained.

Once the town council approves the document then officials begin work to implement the goals of the plan.


My goal is to be able to afford the water bill each month.

Failure to plan is planning to fail goes the old saying. Good job Rex. I hope your Council sees the wisdom of your efforts. Things are changing and changes are not bad if your plan for what is needed for the future of your community. You are showing up the other communities.

Give me a break. If they are planning, they are planning to raid our pocketbooks some more. Blood suckers.

Then move Cheryl, its that simple!! Nobody is twisting your arm and forcing you to live there!! Sheeeeesh!!

Are you one of those city folk that come out here and tell the county bumpkins that they are not smart enough to take care of things and we should be grateful for everything that the town is doing for us?

Cheryl sounds right to me.

The goal is to have the highest water bill in the country. Strasburg wants to be number 1. As far as the comment about several residents showing concern so they changed their goal BULL CRAP! My family lives on Us 11 and their property was zoned commercial in hopes that they would not be able to pay their taxes. When they complained they were actually laughed at. What a show this town trys to put on.

You can bet the town coucil will approve it! That is a done deal. It should be voted on in an election by the citizens of Strasburg. But we have this communist system where a few people decide our fate. A lot of us have lived here our entire life. We cant afford to just pick up and move.

I am sure within forty years this projection will be tweaked by a new Town Council. By then it could be worse. If you want change in this town in the short term vote, vote, vote.

Good idea, the problem is there is no one to vote for. That is why the same people keep getting in.

Not communist at all.

We have a representational democracy, not a direct democracy where every issue is put forth on a ballot initiative.

She sounds like a reverse snob to me.

To JM, Cheryl and others, voter turnout is critical and having good people running is critical. In our county you have supervisors that disrespect citizens and their concerns. Now we have a goodbtown manager that is trying to do the right thing and all he gets is a bunch of negative comments. If you feel as strongly as you do about our community and its lack of direction, then you should consider running for office. It will be interesting to see how you would react when the shoe is on the other foot. And one last thing JM, for years we had very low water rates but the leaders in our community were more worried about getting reelected than looking into the future and upgrading our water system slowly over time instead of waiting until our system was so run down it required a big costly fix. I know I have 2 options with my 1992 Ford Truck. If I spend the money to fix the problem as I go, then it will last a long time. If I take the 2nd option then I would most likely have to buy a new truck sooner because I did not take care of the truck. Neither option I choose I still will have to buy a new truck eventually. Welcome to the water situation .

First, reverse snob, yes. When people live here and are not transient, we have every right to state our opinion about everything. We will be the ones to pick up the pieces, years from now. Second, let us count the lies we were told when the water and sewage system was being discussed.

First lie the town told, if the town attracts developers, new homes and apartment buildings will be built. The town will be able to grow and no one's future water and sewer bill will go up. We will have more than enough residents to cover the cost of new system.

Second lie, there may be a slight increase in rates but we do not envision anything major. 2 to 4% should be enough.

The point is this, I would just like to be told the damn truth. No lies, no spin, no holier than thou. I believe my fellow residents would stand and agree to that one. This is still and will always be a little town. We are not Woodstock, we are not Stephens City and no one will ever run for any office greater than what they have.

Damn't just tell the truth.

I absolutely agree that transparency is important. If anyone believes that having more residential contruction will reduce the cost of providing services to the community is crazy. More residential only puts more pressure on a communities infrastructure without a balance of commericial businesses that helps pay for the infrastructure. If you have a robust retail and commercial businesses to support the community, it can absorb more of the costs which defers the increases away from the residents in the Town. Let me be clear, we have problems to face in the future that is not going away unless the town rebuilds its commerical base to where it once was.

Unreeldeel said it best: get involved, run for election, vote 'em out if you think they're not responsive or pushing bad policy.

The article states no one showed up for the public comment process. No one. As the kids like to say--Major Fail.

Having conceded the tactical ground, apathetic people seek the moral high ground. To quote the kids again, BOGUS.

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