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Strasburg council hears public on annexation

By Alex Bridges

When Strasburg annexes the adjacent industrial park, two businessmen urge the town to make the venture a success.

Town Council held a public hearing Tuesday on the annexation of 306 acres of Shenandoah County land in the area north of Strasburg known as the "Golden Triangle." The land lies in the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park, surrounded by Interstate 81, U.S. 11 and Va. 55.

Council also held a hearing on the proposed Joint Land-Use Plan with the county for the future development of the annexed area.

Town Manager Judson Rex said Wednesday that he expects council to continue the discussion about the land-use plan and the annexation at an upcoming work session. Council won't take action on either item until its Dec. 10 meeting.

A handful of people spoke during the related hearings. Council heard from two Settlers Way residents who live near the industrial park. Members also heard from area businessmen William "Bill" Holtzman and David Blount, who urged council to improve and market the industrial park.

Settlers Way resident Sharon Cales asked council what industries could locate in the annexed area. Cales voiced concern over noise and pointed out that residents can sometimes hear a loud, whooshing sound coming from the industrial park.

Public hearings are not usually used as a question-and-answer period between speakers and council. Members often will respond or ask for information from staff after the hearing.

Jim Sinquefield, also of Settlers Way, asked council about the zoning for the annexed area. The land would come into the town under a transitional zoning classification until zoned for a particular use.

Holtzman, president and owner of Holtzman Corp., also owns one, 9-acre parcel in the annexation area. Holtzman also served on the county's Industrial Development Authority and recalled the initial push to bring businesses into the park.

But Holtzman called the lack of development of the park "disappointing" and said the county now lags behind its neighbors in terms of industrial growth.

Holtzman urged council to do what it can to complete the extension of Borden-Mowery Drive -- the access road off Va. 55 into the park for industrial users. But town and county officials have for years wanted to extend Borden-Mowery Drive to its anticipated intersection at Radio Station Road.

Mayor Tim Taylor told the speakers that council realizes the need to complete Borden-Mowery Drive and its importance to the further development of the industrial park

Blount, who lives on Bowman's Mill Road near the park, is affiliated with Windcrest Development, which owns five parcels in the annexation area totaling 37 acres. Blount recalled some 20 years ago when a local developer, the late Chuck Maddox, and others pushed for the development of the park.

Holtzman and Blount both mentioned that the users of the industrial park spent their own money to build Borden-Mowery Drive only to see the road remain unfinished for years. Rex said Wednesday he didn't have information on that investment.

Currently, the Virginia Department of Transportation is working on the second phase of the road extension. The county and town are working together with VDOT to fund the project that extends the road by 2,000 feet, Rex said. By the time VDOT moves forward on the third phase of the project that will take the route another 3,400 feet, the town will have annexed the park. Rex said the town would continue to pursue the funding necessary to complete the phase of the project.

As to the zoning and possible uses for the annexed property, Rex noted that land likely would be zoned under the town's limited industrial category, which allows for manufacturing, warehouses, wholesale businesses, lumber supplies and other uses.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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