By Alex Bridges
WOODSTOCK - A road extension stands in the way of marketing space in the North Shenandoah Industrial Park regardless of whether Strasburg annexes the property, officials say.
Members of Strasburg Town Council met with supervisors for Shenandoah County on Tuesday for their first joint discussion on the possible annexation of the park by the town.
Leaders also emphasized the need for the county and town to approve a memorandum of understanding that would lay out the industrial park's future. While the annexation lies in the town's hands, - the county has no real say in whether Strasburg can do it or not per the agreement. Council members expressed the need for input from both sides.
A moratorium on annexation of the industrial park by the town ends in early June, per an agreement reached by the localities in 1998.
Town Manager Judson Rex advised council could see draft documents for the annexation in July. Council could then approve the annexation by the end of December.
An extension of Borden Mowery Drive to Radio Station Road is paramount for either locality to market the property, according to Brandon Davis, community development director for Shenandoah County. The Virginia Department of Transportation is conducting a study of the access through the industrial park.
Davis told supervisors that VDOT is expected to advertise for bids this spring to a 2,000-foot extension of Borden Mowery Drive. The project costs approximately $1.2 million, but qualified for industrial access funds through a VDOT program in which the state and localities share the cost. Davis explained an extension of 2,500-3,000 feet remains, but that section would not qualify for the same funding source. Funding for the project could come by way of the state agency's revenue-sharing program, Davis said.
Questions were raised over the zoning of the park property that the town would need to change to conform to its ordinance, currently under review.
Councilman Rich Orndorff Jr. noted that as the gateway to the area he would not want to see development in the industrial park that might prove detrimental to the county.
Councilwoman Sarah Mauck said the vision must remain collective of the town and county.
Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli warned the local leaders and staff to work together to ensure development does not hurt the end user. Supervisor David Ferguson expressed concern that current and future users may not like the fact the town can impose an additional tax on the industries in the park.
Orndorff and board Vice Chairman Dennis Morris recalled that park user Amerigold supported the agreement because the deal did keep the town from imposing its tax on top of the county levy for 15 years.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org