Spot on commission may help Berryville with technical issues

Posted: November 13, 2013

The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — With its increase in population, the town has become large enough to be a voting member of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC).

Town Planner Christy Dunkle told Berryville Town Council members on Tuesday night that the town should benefit from its participation in the commission, which requires a population of at least 3,500.

The town, which in 2000 had a population of 2,963, had 4,185 residents by 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

“[It] will be able to help us out with technical expertise,” Dunkle said of the commission, noting that the town government has a single-person planning department to cope with the many state and federal regulations.

As an example, she discussed the new state standards for stormwater control due to take effect next July, although many of the regulations are unwritten and not approved.

The NSVRC can obtain grants to help the town meet the new standards and can offer advice on many technical questions.

“That’s going to be a big help to us,” Dunkle said.

Also, town officials will benefit from working with other localities in the region on issues of common interest, such as tourism.

Also at the meeting:

Dunkle informed the council that the Planning Commission is considering a possible change in the town’s zoning code that would make it easier to use the second floors in downtown buildings as apartments.

Currently, a special-use permit is needed, but the proposed change would make apartments a by-right use.

The commissioners are also considering changing the parking requirements. Now, two parking spaces are needed, but Dunkle said that might be too restrictive for downtown sites.

The commission will take up the question on Nov. 26.

The council unanimously approved the appointment of Debbie Zimmerman of Battletown Drive to the Planning Commission and passed new regulations for the use of Rose Hill Park.

Town Manager Keith Dalton said the rules will be posted in the park and will be included in the permit for anyone who wants to use it for an event, such as a wedding.

The council was informed that the Berryville Area Development Authority will continue its public hearing on a site plan for a 60-unit senior apartment complex in Battlefield Estates on Nov. 20.

Attending the meeting in the Joint Government Center were Mayor Wilson Kirby and council members Mary Daniel, David Tollett, Harry “Jay” Arnold Jr., H. Allen Kitselman Jr. and Doug Shaffer.

— Contact Val Van Meter to vvanmeter@winchesterstar.com