Shenandoah Valley…the next Gatlinburg?

Letter

Recently, a cadre of Page County citizens rose up to fight the building of a solar farm on a tract of land on a two-lane road coming into town. Bolstered by this support, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance so strict it is unlikely any solar farm will ever be built here.

But evidently, all of the concerns that beat back the solar project have gone out the window as we allow a giant RV “glamping” park to destroy precious farmland on a major four-lane highway entering our town. Where is the concern about losing precious topsoil now? Where is the concern about dumping waste into an already impaired Shenandoah river, not to mention run off, erosion, and storm water management? Where is the concern about being an eyesore for miles around? Degradation of property values? Destroying the view? A far away corporate owner?

At least the solar farm would have sat there quietly, requiring very little support or attention by the county. This campground will be a constant problem, with traffic going in and out 24/7, and infrastructure and maintenace requirements. Every person who stays there will be a person who doesn’t stay at one of our already heavily invested-in cabins and other hospitality venues. Where are the support staff to clean these buildings and maintain these grounds? As a business owner, I can tell you we already have a shortage of staffing in Page County. 

Once this kind of project is in place, what’s next?… Putt-putt golf? Pirates of the Shenandoah? Take a drive to the Great Smoky Mountains and see what’s happened there. Is this the vision the Board of Supervisors has for the future of our county… the creeping commercialization of the Shenandoah Valley?

If the solar farm was incongruent with life here, then this is even worse, and it appears to me that the “precious way of life” the no-solar people want to conserve is not really threatened by the possibility of some green-energy project that ultimately benefits everyone, but rather is in immediate danger of being sacrificed on the altar of Tourism and the Almighty dollar. 

Susan E. Corbett ~ Page County farmer and business owner

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5 Comments

  1. Please enlighten us no solar folk – when have the meetings been against this new issue with the river?

    What have you done to help spread the word?

    There is a meeting this coming Thursday – how do you already know who is or isn’t going to it?

  2. i’ll be at the meeting thursday to give my two cents worth. the Nutrient trading issue there has just popped up on my radar. as far as ‘precious farmland’ being lost to this expansion…i do believe that there was no farming done at this business before the expansion was applied for. all the folks who go there are likely to leave $$$ here, without which Page county slowly strangles to death. the paltry amount that Cape Solar would have brought did not outweigh the downside,therefore it was vehemently opposed.

  3. There was a public hearing about this campground more then a year ago. You can find information on the minutes of the planning commission and the BOS.

    There was sufficient concern about potential effects on the river associated with a recent permit application for this campground, with notice published in the PNC, that the DEQ is holding an informational meeting on Thursday and may hold a public hearing once the public comment deadline has passed.

    The planning commission is currently revising zoning ordinances and is particularly concerned about provisions for campgrounds.

    You might want to follow what is happening in county government and citizen involvement so that you have the facts.

    • The lucrative prospect of beefing up tourism to help the cave is more important than “Karst geology” this time. Like a demand letter in a civil lawsuit, all the possible benefits will be grossly exaggerated and “concerns” will be ignored.

  4. Hey Susan, Thank you for coming and speaking so eloquently at the meeting last Thursday, and thank you for being such an involved and informed member of the community bringing light to this matter, speaking up, and helping navigate Page County through uncertain times!

    Oh wait, you didnt even show up – never mind.

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