Calling all storytellers and musicians for stories and songs of the river. Friends of the North Fork…
On Wednesday evening, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to deny the proposal to rezone 31 acres of agricultural land for use as a large, overnight truck stop/wash/repair center. Over 100 people, including Friends’ executive director, David Brotman, attended the hearing, many of whom shared public comment.
“I was so impressed with the variety of voices at the hearing.” said Brotman, “From folks concerned about traffic and logistics, to others, like us, spelling out the implications for Smith Creek, to people who were passionate about preserving their neighborhoods and family histories – each person, each story and concern, was critical in getting this unanimous vote.”
After two-dozen public comments and a short break, Mr. Brotman took the mic, making clear to the room all of the investment that Rockingham County has in Smith Creek, and urging the Supervisors to guard not only those investments, but the creek itself, and what it stands for as a Showcase Watershed for the entire Chesapeake Bay region. Directly following his statement, Board Chair, Sallie Wolfe-Garrison, asked District 1 Supervisor Dewey Richie if he wished to continue hearing from the community, or if he felt there was grounds to call a vote. With no one from the public having spoken in favor, and the comments being so strongly compelling, Mr. Ritchie moved to hold a vote, and the Board unanimously decided to deny the proposal. Concerning his vote, Richie said “There is an issue with places for truckers to get off the road but the fact that the stormwater there, the runoff, given where it was going to run into Smith Creek, even though it was treated, I just wasn’t comfortable with that.”
Friends of the North Fork is grateful for the community activists in Rockingham County, for our area conservation partners, and for each of our members who take the time to learn, and make their voices heard about proposals which threaten our vital waters around the watershed. FNFSR also recognizes the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors for prioritizing the health of our precious waterways, for hearing the call of their constituents, and for acting in the best interest of all.