Parrish: ‘I have yet to talk to anybody personally that is in favor of the maps’

At a work session on Monday night the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors agreed to remove the highly controversial village maps from the comprehensive plan.

The board heard comments from nine members of the public, some of whom wished to adopt the plan as-is while others expressed continued apprehension about the inclusion of the village maps.

“If you delay it, it’s never going to happen,” said Yoko Barsky. 

“We have talked about taking out verbiage that talks about promoting growth and encouraging growth … we’re not obligated to encourage growth but we certainly should be managing growth and I think it’s important for us to realize that there is a distinction,” said Sallie Haynes.

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After a discussion, the board agreed to remove the village boundary maps from the draft plan. “I have had phone calls all day long and I’ve had a lot of emails,” said Stonewall-Hawthorne representative Chris Parrish, “and I have yet to talk to anybody personally that is in favor of the maps.”

“We can go ahead and move forward without adopting something that is literally half-baked and come back to it in the near future after we move on with our zoning ordinances,” Parrish said.

The board also decided to incorporate proposed language relating to broadband communications infrastructure into the draft plan. Special exception permits can be issued on a case-by-case basis for “wireless communications facilities” that are 80 feet or shorter. The board removed the requirement that such facilities be made of wood but preserved the language requiring camouflage.

Board Chair Christine Smith also added language relating to the significance of the arts in Rappahannock County, courtesy of Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community Board Member Barbara Black.

And finally, a policy was added to Principle 7 acknowledging the cultural value of the county’s country stores. The policy reads: “Recognize the value of country stores to the citizens’ way of life and encourage their continued operation or re-establishment in cases where they have closed.”

Near the end of the evening, the board discussed the possibility of offering bonuses to county employees this year. No decision was made during the work session but a public hearing will be announced in the Rappahannock News in the coming week.

Despite supervisors’ collaboration on Monday evening, the final public comment of the night demonstrated that not everyone is pleased with the draft comprehensive plan. 

“I just read the whole thing, end to end,” said Bill Tieckelmann, “and it looks like a high school kid’s term paper. You didn’t do anything until the last week and then patched a lot of stuff together. It’s not comprehensive, it’s not really a plan, and it doesn’t even state the challenges we’re going to be facing in the future except an aging population.”

Nevertheless, the BOS is slated to vote on the plan in December.

To watch our video coverage of the Nov. 16 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, click the link above. For more on Monday night’s events, pick up the Nov. 19 print edition of the Rappahannock News.