By Matt de Simone
Fincastle Town Council held its monthly meeting last Thursday at the Fincastle Volunteer Fire Department Training Room.
At the meeting’s onset, Mayor Mary Bess Smith shared thoughts about former Town Manager David Tickner’s time serving the town for the last 12 years. Scott Critzer, former town mayor and current head of the town’s planning commission, commended Tickner for all of his hard work and thanked him for his years served.
“We appreciate everything you’ve done for us over the years,” Smith said to Tickner at the meeting’s onset. “It’s been good, from Christmas lights to digging holes. I don’t know if we asked you to put a roof on anything, but you’ve done just about everything else. We appreciate it… You have saved the town from a lot of woe.”
Councilman Ed Bordett presented Tickner with a painted portrait of Fincastle as a parting gift.
Joan Boothe is also departing the town as town clerk. She has served as clerk for over 20 years. She will continue to work with the town as a consultant until her replacement begins.
Scott Critzer updated the council on a review of the town’s zoning ordinances to ensure that the town’s encumbered all of the county ordinances within the town. He noted that the planning commission hoped they could make recommendations at the start of the review, which is still yet to be completed as of last Thursday.
He provided a list of things in Fincastle that might influence future development including two wells, storage tanks, and a sewage treatment plant. Critzer noted the relationship between the town and the Western Virginia Water Authority is “an especially important resource when it comes to planning related to subdivisions, new commercial projects, as well as in planning for future needs of the town.”
Critzer provided several maps for meeting attendees to understand what the planning commission referenced during the review that included maps of the Water Authority’s GIS overlay for the town, Fincastle’s zoning map, and the town’s flood plain map.
During his presentation, Critzer explained, “One of the things that the commission identified, that is included in the comp plan, is that the best location for focusing future medium- to large-scale economic growth should be mainly along the Route 220 corridor through town with economic growth near the center of the old town to be focused mainly on smaller boutique or specialty-type businesses that will have a lower impact on available infrastructure such as streets and parking.”
The planning commission realized there are two current ordinances in Fincastle. The first was “tailormade” for the town and has served the town for years and never had “serious problems.” The second is an ordinance inherited from the boundary adjustment between the town and the county, but was never officially adopted by the town, according to Critzer.
Following the review, the zoning classifications that were inherited from the county as part of the boundary adjustment will “adequately” guide development in town. The commission recommended the classifications should be incorporated with the town’s zoning ordinance to be applied to areas outside of the old town to be approved by council. The other recommendations were holding public hearings and public information meetings before being presented for council’s consideration.
Council held a public hearing on the Fincastle FY 2024 proposed budgets (projected revenues/expenditures totaling $537,000). There were no public comments and no comments from council. Council will not vote on the budget until the June meeting.
The Big Spring Park walking trail is now complete and it’s official name is “The Big Spring Nature Trail.” Bordett added that a logo is currently under development.
During the manager’s report, Tickner noted that the 2023 First Bank Tinsel Trail will be relocated along Main Street and potentially having Christmas trees located in the flat area of Big Spring Park. Tickner believes they have enough electrical service for the park to handle trees in the park. Council members thought having some trees in the park is a good idea.
Bordett said that hydroseeding is about to begin in the area of the trail that will soon feature wildflowers and an orchard. He noted that trees won’t be planted until the fall or winter.
The board continues to ask for donations to help fund the upcoming fireworks on July 4. Donations can be brought to the Fincastle Town Office or sent to Town of Fincastle, P.O. Box 250, Fincastle, 24090. Donations can also be made by calling the Town Office at 540-473-2200 to use a debit or credit card to make a donation.
Brandon Nicely, the Republican representative for Fincastle in the upcoming Board of Supervisors election in November, introduced himself to the board and the meeting’s attendees.