This is a screenshot from the Shenandoah GIS site that shows the 98-acre parcel in the left center of the image along the east side of the railroad track. At right is O-N Minerals and the bottom left is Mercury Paper, which is separated from the property by Interstate 81.

In a 4-2 vote, the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved rezoning the almost 100-acre Glendale Property near Strasburg to benefit potential industrial development.

The property at 1095 Oranda Road is across from the Carmeuse quarry operation in the Oranda community. Since at least 2013, the property’s owner, Glendale Properties LLC, had sought to have the site rezoned from A-1 Agriculture to M-1 General Industrial.

The industrial uses that the developer, Shockey Property Management, consider as top contenders for the site include food preparation and storage, cold storage, dairy preparation and storage, technology services and automotive parts distribution.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Tim Taylor, who was the mayor of Strasburg in 2013, thanked residents for their patience and feedback, as well as county staff’s work, on the long-delayed rezoning request.

Taylor recalled that in 2013, economic development was a “huge issue” compared to now and that a study back then showed the Oranda property was a prime site for industrial development.

He said he’s “a firm believer in following plans and studies,” especially when taxpayers’ money has been spent on analysis, such as on that of the Oranda property.

The proposed project “seems to check the boxes” as an industrial project, Taylor said. “I think we’re doing our due diligence to keep (the county) as rural as possible.”

Board Vice Chairman Dennis Morris thanked Shockey for having addressed various concerns about its proposed project at community meetings.

At one point last year, almost 500 people told the county they were concerned about potential traffic derived from the proposed project, Morris said.

“I have to support the people who have contacted me for the past 10 months,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I cannot support the (rezoning) proposal, and the majority of the people in District 5 do not support the proposal.”

Supervisor Steven Baker said Shockey’s rezoning request was one of the most challenging decisions he’s ever had to make during his 15 years on the board.

“I’m a farmer, and I hate to lose farmland,” Baker said. “At the end of the day, I also see that our county needs to generate the tax base with some new revenues.”

Baker added that the Oranda site seems to be perfect for industrial development and that he wants to do what’s best for the county’s future.

But Supervisor Brad Pollack said county officials have not addressed all residents’ concerns about the rezoning request.

“The vast majority of our citizens love Shenandoah County just the way it is,” Pollack said. “We don’t want to turn into (fast-growing) Loudoun or Fairfax counties. The primary purpose of industrial development is providing jobs. We don’t know if the Oranda site would do that. People want this place to remain the way it is.”

“Amen,” an audience member at Tuesday’s meeting said.

When it comes to the county’s need for additional revenue, Pollack said the county would do better to decrease the amount of money it provides to the county school district “and especially our Sheriff’s Office.”

Such talk amounts to “fear-mongering,” Board Chairman Karl Roulston said.

Roulston said he believes county officials have addressed residents’ concerns about the rezoning of the Oranda property and that the rezoned site would align with the county’s comprehensive plan.

Economic development, such as from the rezoned Oranda site, would help prevent existing area property owners from paying higher property taxes, Roulston said.

Roulston, Taylor, Baker and Supervisor Josh Stephens voted to rezone the Oranda property. Morris and Pollack voted against the request.

Contact Tony Judnich at tjudnich@nvdaily.com

(1) comment


Typical ShenCo, I want jobs, but I don't want the jobs to use of dead or unused farmland. Why do my taxes keep going up? We don't want to be like NOVA!!! But we want the budgets, jobs, revenue, amenities, and robust tax base like NOVA. This County will never learn. I may not agree with Holtzman, but he made a very valid point several years back, counties to our north and south are eating our breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis, and it will not stop anytime soon.

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