Board adds business owner to conservation group

WOODSTOCK –The owner of a restoration business will join a Shenandoah County group that works to protect farmland and open space.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-1 at its meeting this week to appoint William “Bill” Wine to the Conservation Easement Authority and to reappoint members Cindy Dellinger and Kelly Watkinson. The terms of Dellinger, Watkinson and Bernard Griswold ended Dec. 31. Griswold had notified the board that he did not want to serve another term.

Supervisors discussed the appointments in closed session in the middle of their meeting Tuesday. No one commented publicly on the appointments before the vote to make all the appointments in one action. District 5 Supervisor Marsha Shruntz voted against the slate of appointments, though she stumped for Wine.

Wine owns Historic Restorations LLC in Woodstock.

“He’s very familiar with conservation issues and he’ll make a great member on that authority,” Shruntz said Wednesday.

Shruntz said she wanted the board to appoint Wine.

“I reached out to Mr. Wine personally to see if he would be interested in the position on that authority,” Shruntz said. “I thought he would be a very good candidate.”

The authority’s power and the county’s funding of its efforts to support conservation came under fire last year by Shruntz and District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey. The board ultimately voted 4-2 to support the authority’s request to earmark revenue the county receives when a landowner who has real estate in a special land-use taxation program takes that property out of agricultural use, called rollback taxes, for conservation. The authority can use the local tax money, usually with funds from other sources, as leverage to help a property owner put land into permanent easement. Bailey and Shruntz opposed use of the money, saying owners can protect their land without the county spending local tax dollars. Shruntz suggested the board disband the authority, which it created years ago.

Based on her vote, Shruntz didn’t seem to support either or both of the reappointments.

“I would like to see new faces on many of the committees and authorities and commissions in Shenandoah County,” Shruntz said. “I would like to see new members and that’s why I personally reached out to Mr. Wine. I was very happy that his name was selected.

“New members, new faces bring a fresh point of view to specific issues and committees,” Shruntz added.

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