WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County will make a financial contribution toward a property appraisal for the proposed Shenandoah Valley Rail Trail that will run through the length of the county and into adjoining localities.
The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 on Tuesday evening to provide up to $15,000 to be put toward the appraisal, which Don Hindman, of the Shenandoah Valley Rail Trail Exploratory Partnership, recently stated would cost $60,000.
Hindman told Shenandoah County supervisors last month that he was also seeking $15,000 contributions from Warren and Rockingham counties to go along with the $15,000 raised through private donations to help cover the cost of the appraisal, which he called the next step toward establishing a multi-use recreational trail on a nearly 50-mile out-of-service rail corridor that runs from Broadway to Front Royal.
Though supervisors were unanimous in their support for helping fund the property appraisal, several of them said they’ve heard concerns from county property owners — particularly farmers — who are worried about what impact the proposed trail could have on adjacent agricultural land.
Board Chairman Steve Baker (District 2) noted that there remain “a lot” of questions to be answered on that topic, and District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris suggested that community meetings be held to disseminate information to concerned landowners.
District 1 Supervisor Josh Stephens added that county leaders needed to start engaging the towns in rail trail discussions, noting that towns “have to be involved.”
Also on Tuesday, supervisors voted unanimously to approve an interest rate reduction for two loans associated with the Virginia Clean Water Program, resulting in net savings of $154,914 over the next 10 years.
The two loans — one from 2007 for the Mount Jackson sewer plant and the other from 2011 for the county landfill leachate line project — were identified as candidates for potential interest rate reduction by Davenport & Co., which the county tasked with exploring refunding and restructuring opportunities regarding county debt.
The 2007 loan, originally taken in the amount of $4 million and which currently holds a par value of $1,817,595, had its interest rate decreased from 3% to 1%, generating net savings of $112,920 through 2029. The 2011 loan, originally taken in the amount of $1.3 million and which has a current par value of $748,498, had its interest rate decreased from 2.93% to 1.05%, resulting in net savings of $41,993 through 2031.
In other action on Tuesday, county supervisors voted unanimously to:
• Update and amend the scoring standards for the county’s conservation easement program.
• Approve the final site plan review for a special-use permit to allow the expansion and operation of a self-storage facility on 13.4 acres of property located 1.5 miles north of Woodstock along Route 11.
• Approve a request by the Shenandoah County Animal Shelter to hold a rabies clinic on Oct. 16. State law requires public animal shelters to hold such clinics every two years.
Supervisors Stephens, Baker, Brad Pollack, Karl Roulston, Morris and Tim Taylor attended Tuesday’s meeting.