Elections, development mark year for area towns
With 2016 all but in the books, a review of the year’s biggest news stories in town government shows that local elections, business dealings and development were some of what topped the region’s concerns.
The following is a list of the most newsworthy events that have happened throughout the towns in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Three win council seats
In May, Councilman Clyde S. Beachy, Councilwoman Teresa C. Minnick and Stephen C. Van Stee won seats to serve on Town Council.
ITFederal plan creeps forward
In December, Town Council voiced its support for the ITFederal development in town and passed a resolution that pushes the Warren County-Front Royal Economic Development Authority to sell land to ITFederal. However, the project’s delays have worried some in council and throughout town.
New mayor, council elected
Hollis W. Tharpe took over Timothy W. Darr’s seat as town mayor in an unopposed election. Meanwhile, Eugene R. Tewalt and Jacob L. “Jake” Meza and William A. Sealock Jr. won seats on Town Council.
Village project moves forward
The Town Council and Planning Commission both approved amended plans for the Village at Middletown to build 180 single-family houses on the north side of Reliance Road. The original plan, dating back to 2007, called for the construction of 225 units and a higher capital improvement agreement with the town.
Mayor, council hold seats
Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV won an unopposed race while council members George “Jay” Smith, Carolyn Aliff and Carole Snyder Jones fought off outside challenges to hold their seats.
Commission eyes updates
The planning commission is working with a consulting firm to revamp the town’s comprehensive plan. This update will include the town’s proposed 712 acre “megasite,” consisting of land owned by a commissioner to host a new large scale industrial site. The appointment of the land owner, Robert Whitehurst Jr., led to an advisory opinion by the Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney and the eventual resignation of the commission’s chairwoman, Bonnie Good.
Triplett School building sold
Todd Holtzman purchased the old Triplett School building from the town in September for $250,000, along with $300,000 up front in tap fees and an additional $120,000 to come. He said he plans to turn the building into a community theater complete with a restaurant and yogurt shop.
Temporary fire chief appointed
In August, Town Council voted to temporarily appoint Tim Williams, operations chief of Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, to replace former Volunteer Fire Chief Gary Yew. Council originally planned to appoint a long-term replacement itself, until the department successfully lobbied to choose its own chief.
New mayor, council chosen
In May, residents elected incumbent Douglas C. Bradley to serve as mayor and Peter R. Hughes, Timothy W. Palmer and Scott C. Wymer to serve on Town Council.
Department, plant get extension
Town Council granted the construction firm building its new wastewater treatment plant and public works facility a one-year extension on the facility and a 270-day extension on the plant. The town agreed to pay its supervisor an additional $120,000 from its contingency funds with the construction firm covering the rest. Both projects are scheduled for substantial completion April 10, 2017, and full completion June 9, 2017.
Tax hikes approved
To fill out its budget, council hiked the meals, water and lodging tax from 1 percent up to a maximum of 6 in total. It also increased the cost of sewer, water and gas rates for residents.
Council seats maintained
Incumbents Ronald Bowers and Joseph Hollis maintained their seats on council in November’s election. Outside candidate Kelly Ann Thatcher won as well, and will join the two.
Town manager appointed
Town Council appointed Angela Clem as its town manager in August. Clem, 34, worked as the assistant town manager prior to the promotion. Clem replaced former Town Manager Reid Wodicka.
Three win seats on council
Michael F. Funkhouser, Jacqueline L. Lambert and Alicia Gutshall all ran unopposed for Town Council and will retain their seats. Council is still inching toward building a 38,000-square-foot parking complex in town on the 100 block of Main Street.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org