Letter to the Editor: Three new supervisors need to be seated
Impressively, the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors has for years actively supported the protection of our Civil War battlefields, important for our respect of these hallowed fields and our own history, as well as for the attraction of tourists to the county. In their support of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, however, the board’s record is less impressive.
Shenandoah County is blessed with a professional Comprehensive Plan that protects the county’s farm and forest lands, important for support of farming and tourism, our two top industries. Moreover, the plan has had regular citizen input to improve, strengthen, and update it. What is troubling is the regularity of the board’s decisions to violate the provisions of the plan and our zoning ordinances that have devolved from it. These departures are known as special use permits.
Almost all special use permits applications are being approved by the board. In 2013, all applications were approved. Often they were either approved over neighborhood objections, and, as only adjacent landowners are notified of these pending actions, many were approved without neighborhood knowledge. Each of these special use permits approvals represents an exception to our Comprehensive Plan and our zoning ordinances. Many of these special use permits compromise our agricultural and forestal land.
Before our valuable resources are further compromised, I believe it is desirable that a new Board of Supervisors is in place to evaluate these continuing challenges to our Comprehensive Plan. While the three supervisors who are standing for reelection have dedicated many hours of service to solving the county’s many challenges, I believe it is now time to offer these three seats to a new, fresh group of candidates who will be more responsive to the wishes of their constituents.
Denman Zirkle, past executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Edinburg