After hearing concerns voiced during a public meeting regarding the proposed rezoning of a large parcel of land off Oranda Road near Strasburg, one of the property owners wanted to explain why she is requesting to rezone the land.
Glendale Properties LLC is seeking to rezone 98.8 acres at 1095 Oranda Road from A-1 Agriculture to M-1 Industrial. The property is across from the Carmeuse quarry operation and near the CSX Railroad and Interstate 81. So far, Glendale Properties has only provided conceptual ideas regarding the request and there are no current plans for how the land could be used.
During a Sept. 20 public information session regarding the proposal, most residents who spoke opposed the rezoning request because of how the change could potentially impact how the area looks. They were also concerned because they don’t know what might be built on the land.
Kay Fiocca, a co-owner of Glendale Properties, attended the public information session last month but chose not to speak. She explained during an interview with The Daily that her family (the Stickley family) has owned the property since before Shenandoah County’s 1772 establishment. The land was originally acquired by the Stickley family through land grants.
According to Fiocca, she and her brother Daniel L. Spiker are the owners of Glendale Properties and descendants of the Stickley family. Their mother was the last family member with the Stickley name. In 2013, Fiocca and Spiker were officially vested in ownership of the land.
Glendale Properties has been attempting to rezone the land for years. When a similar request to rezone the land from agriculture to industrial was made in 2013, residents voiced the same concerns they have today — and the request was denied.
Fiocca said that the rezoning application in 2013 was “denied for reasons completely unrelated to the merits of the property for industrial zoning.”
While many citizens had questions regarding what could be built on the land, Fiocca explained that can’t be determined until the rezoning is completed. She explained that companies will not discuss site plans if proper zoning is not first in place.
“They are simply unwilling and unable to devote serious consideration to a site based on anticipation of rezoning,” she said.
Gray Farland, a representative of Shockey (the developer that has partnered with Glendale Properties), explained that zoning will dictate what could be developed on the property.
“A lot of it is going to depend on the state and the local EDA (Economic Development Authority). They have as much of a part of bringing the businesses in as we do — and then it’s a process of seeing who fits,” he said.
He explained that the goal is to develop properties that could economically benefit Shenandoah County and Strasburg citizens.
“I think the majority of the community is for bringing businesses to the county and bringing jobs back to the county,” Farland said.
Fiocca explained that a stone house on the property built by her ancestors in 1852 is now owned by her brother. She said the structure will remain untouched.
She pointed out that the land is not being used for agricultural purposes now and is surrounded by industry.
“We’re not cutting a chunk out of beautiful pristine farmland and then turning it into an asphalt jungle. We’re blending right in with what’s already surrounding us,” Fiocca said.
She noted that Glendale Properties has declined previous offers to purchase the land because the group wants to maintain ownership to ensure it is properly used.
Fiocca added that she does not want to compromise Oranda residents’ property rights, and she does not expect to change their opinions on the rezoning.
“I fully respect the property rights of all landowners and would like to see my property rights respected by others,” she said.
The county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will hold a joint 7 p.m. public hearing Thursday on the rezoning request at 600 N. Main St., Woodstock. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the supervisors, who will ultimately decide whether to grant the request. Representatives from Glendale Properties, Shockey, and Stowe Engineering will attend.