Officials want to avoid conflicts on boundary lines
Northern Virginia Daily
April 24, 2007
By Preston Knight
NEW MARKET – Town officials are looking to the outside for assistance on growth.
John Hutchinson, a consultant with Jennings Gap Partnership LLC, has been contracted to help with long-term planning strategies, according to Town Manager Evan Vass.
The New Market Town Council voted to hire Hutchinson and his firm for $22,000 at its monthly meeting last week.
“The town has needed for some time to define future boundaries,” Vass said.“This is a proactive approach.”
He stressed that the council’s move is not a sign that officials are looking to grow New Market.Instead, the plan, which will look 25 years into the future, will be another tool to help the town handles the issues of growth, particularly outside of the town’s limits, Vass said.
“The current comprehensive plan didn’t address that enough,” he said of future growth areas.
New Market officials are already working toward a land-use agreement with the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors to avoid future conflicts with friendly boundary-line adjustments.
Recent discussions on the matter have been prompted by town officials’ surprise that a plan for a 225-unit development near White Mill and Smith Creek roads was denied because the supervisors could not agree to add the 100-acre parcel to New Market’s limits.
The work Hutchinson will do, though, will include undeveloped land within the current town boundaries, Vass said.
“If a parcel [in town] was zoned residential, you wouldn’t want a commercial development beside it outside of the town boundaries,” he said.
One quality that stands out about Hutchinson is his understanding of New Market’s need to preserve its resources while also growing, Vass said.
Hutchinson helped protect more than 1,200 acres of battlefield land during his six years as program manager for resource protection for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
“That is one of the biggest attractions here,” Councilwoman Mary Alice Burch said of the NewMarketBattlefieldStateHistoricalPark.
She said the more commercial attractions the town has, the better chance it has of getting people to live there.
That is one aspect of Hutchinson’s plan she is looking forward to developing most.
“I don’t want us to become a city,” Burch said, “but we need to provide the stores and shops people look for.”
Vass said the plan should be worked on throughout the next six months, and will include input from the county staff and the public.
“This is a community project,” he said.
A date for the kick-off meeting has yet to be scheduled.
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