STRASBURG — Town Council voted Tuesday to approve holding James Massey’s seat on the Architectural Review Board though he has moved to Winchester.
Massey, whose term runs through Dec. 31, is “a treasure,” said Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr., adding that Massey has enough knowledge and experience to be considered an expert in his field.
“There is no one more imminently qualified than Jim Massey,” Orndorff said. “There is no one who has the knowledge that Jim has and he is a great resource.”
Town committee members usually need to live in town to be eligible to serve, but Planning & Zoning Administrator Lee Pambid said the town’s Unified Development Ordinance allows members to keep their seat on certain committees if they are considered subject matter experts.
After Massey’s term expires, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said it would be prudent for the board to advertise the seat to see if someone else might fill it.
Massey, who was also on the Planning Commission, has resigned that position since moving.
At the Tuesday meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve Massey’s role on the ARB, and three people spoke during a public comment session to show their support for Massey.
Board Chairperson Ashleigh Kimmons called Massey the “cornerstone” of the board.
“Without him, the work that we do cannot be accomplished,” he said.
Vice Chairperson Linda Wheeler also spoke in support of Massey.
“He’s been a member for years,” she said. “He was chairman for years. He’s known nationwide for the work that he’s done.”
Massey was the national chief of the Historic American Building Survey, she said, and was in charge of historic properties including nearby Belle Grove Plantation for 10 years with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“For all of that, he’s a very decent, down to earth guy,” she said. “He’s a walking encyclopedia of things that the rest of us don’t know about state and federal regulations, and sometimes he saves us from making a mistake.”
Calling him “a remarkable person,” she said he would like to continue on the ARB.
“The town needs an expert on the ARB,” agreed town resident and former Councilman Robert Baker. “Jim Massey was our choice when I was on the council. I would urge the council to reappoint him.”
Massey did not attend the meeting.
Also at the meeting:
- The town’s efforts to find employment for employees from LSC Communications losing their jobs have included three resource fairs with another one next week.
- A light pole along King Street, installed as part of the Streetscape Project, is being repaired after being struck by a trash truck.
- Stormwater remediation along the Gateway Trail will resume as soon as the weather allows.
- Councilwoman Barbara Plitt has submitted the town as an applicant in the HGTV Home Town Takeover contest, using a 2018 lip-synching challenge video posted by the Strasburg Police Department at facebook.com/watch/?v=2069327069746755.
The mayor and all members of the Town Council attended the meeting. The council will meet for a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday to begin budget discussions. The work session was pushed to Tuesday because of the Presidents' Day holiday on Monday. However, the town office will be open that day.