Shenandoah County’s Planning Commission on Thursday night backed a special-use permit request that would allow the construction and operation of a pair of short-term rental cabins off Route 11 south of Strasburg.

Jessica Vandall applied for the permit for property located at 29287 Old Valley Pike and accessed by Locust Grove Road, noting that her intent is to construct two cabins measuring 12 feet by 30 feet for short-term rental and personal use. Each cabin would have one bedroom and one bath and would include one parking space, she said. Vandall said she envisions the cabins being a place where two people can spend a short getaway of no more than two or three nights.

County Planner Tyler Hinkle noted in a short presentation during a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors on Thursday night that the property is zoned A-1 (agriculture), making it eligible for short-term rental units, and is primarily forested land that includes a stream running through the property.

Hinkle told commissioners and supervisors that there were no agency concerns with the proposed project other than the need for the applicant to obtain the proper permits from the state health department prior to operation. Because each cabin would be limited to one vehicle, Hinkle said the Virginia Department of Transportation isn’t concerned about any additional impact to Locust Grove Road.

Dennis Morris, the Board of Supervisors’ representative on the Planning Commission, commended Vandall for reaching out to neighbors and informing them of the proposed project to allow them a chance to voice any concerns. No citizen comments were made during Thursday’s public hearing, and commissioners voted 6-0 to recommend the permit request for supervisors’ approval without any further discussion.

Also on Thursday, Hinkle updated the Planning Commission on the progress of the Citizens Advisory Committee outreach effort to help formulate Shenandoah County’s next 20-year comprehensive plan, noting that the county still needed 2,038 more responses to the survey in order to reach the targeted 5% response rate of county residents. The survey remains open until 2022.

Thursday’s meeting marked the first for new Planning Commission members Mark Dotson (District 1) and Tommy Miller (District 3). Chairman Gary Lantz, Vice Chair Debbie Keller (who volunteered to serve as the Planning Commission’s representative on the Citizens Advisory Committee during the meeting) and commissioners Morris and Eunice Terndrup also were in attendance Thursday. District 4 Commissioner Todd Steiner was absent.

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