Letter to the Editor: Town needs to take time on updating plan
Now that the Mount Jackson Town Council has voted to annex the Whitehurst farm into town limits and the Planning Commission takes on the task of updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan, they are presented with a unique opportunity to make the plan revision an inclusive process.
As the supervisor of District 2, which includes the Town of Mount Jackson, any decisions made either to annex or rezone the Whitehurst farm are out of my hands. These decisions are solely a Mount Jackson decision. The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors has no authority.
I suggest now is time for the Mount Jackson town leaders, citizens of Mount Jackson and the community to work together to identify what the best use of this property is for the town and the county moving forward. In particular, what land use best fits within the vision of the town’s Comprehensive Plan rather than how can the plan be revised to fit a desired use for the annexed land.
In addition to my job as Shenandoah County supervisor, I am both a farmer and small business owner. I support preserving farmland, but I must also honor agreements made before my time on the board. I encourage the Town of Mount Jackson and the town Planning Commission to engage the public in the Comprehensive Plan review process, and look toward past examples in the county of well thought out planning for annexation areas such as New Market’s 2007 Annexation Area Concept Plan and its incorporation into the 2012 New Market Comprehensive Plan.
Government works best when it is open and responsive to its citizens, and I believe that is something we can do well in this situation. The future is bright for Mount Jackson and Shenandoah County if we take our time to thoroughly examine this issue and reach a plan that reflects the needs and desires of its citizens.
Steve Baker, Mount Jackson, District 2 supervisor