STRASBURG — The Strasburg Town Council voted Monday night not to allow a truck repair business into Business Park/Limited Industrial zoned sites in town, including the Northern Shenandoah Business Park.

Mayor Brandy Boies made the tie-breaking 5-4 vote to deny allowing truck repair companies by a special-use permit in those BPLI zoned sites. Council members Dane Hooser, Christie Monahan, Taralyn Nicholson and Emily Reynolds voted no on the motion, as Vice Mayor Cherrix, and Councilmembers John Massoud, Doreen Ricard and Paul Weaver voted yes.

Before that vote, the council voted 5-3 to deny trucking businesses by-right, which means a truck repair company could set up shop without the approval of the Planning Commission and the Town Council. Hooser, Monahan, Reynolds, Ricard and Weaver voted with the majority.

The Planning Commission had previously recommended allowing the truck repair business with a special use permit.

Jodha Trucking Co. sought to establish its truck-repair company in the business park off Borden Mowery Drive. But approving either motion would have allowed a trucking repair companies to be built in all BPLI zoned sites.

In casting her vote, Boies said the town is working on making the business park an attractive site for a better business than the truck repair one, although she praised the application from the company.

The town is working to improve the Borden Mowery Drive extension that leads into the park, the council discussed. The Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority is also working to combine the lot with an adjacent one, to make it larger.

“There are people looking at us, and we are going in the right direction,” Boies said.

Nicholson stated that the council doesn’t have its act together and needs to do more research to be prepared for when applicants come to town. The town's ordinances also don't help the situation, Nicholson said. The town is working to revise some of the town ordinances related to development.

Monday's denials are the second time a business has attempted to build in the business park this year. A self-storage facility was denied earlier this year because it wouldn't bring in many jobs.

Sanjiv Shah, the Realtor for the truck-repair business, said that once it was fully operational the truck-repair business would bring more than 100 jobs and truck drivers would settle down in the area.

Massoud noted that the applicant in front of them was bringing jobs to the blue collar town of Strasburg, which is what the business park is designed for.

“It seems to me this is a no-brainer, we should be supporting him,” Massoud said. 

Monahan suggested having some sites in town rezoned to allow for certain business in some and not in others, which prompted Town Planning and Zoning Administrator Lee Pambid to say it is recommended to define the business park as more white-collar office use or light industrial uses, not both. Hooser said that for him the decision came down to not wanting to have a truck repair business in town in the other BPLI sights. Reynolds said she wanted to take a more thoughtful approach with what should be done with the business park.

Shah said after the meeting the council is not friendly to business, and that he would look at other towns along Interstate 81.

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