Appreciates library’s program on Jewish girls taken to Auschwitz
I want to write to express my appreciation to the Botetourt County Libraries, Events and Programs for commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, by giving us the opportunity to learn about a little known part of a larger history.
Via a Zoom meeting on January 29, I was able to listen to author Heather Dune Macadam discuss her book and soon-to-be-released documentary film, “999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz.” In the Zoom presentation, Macadam discusses how 999 unmarried, young Jewish women registered for government service in a supposed shoe factory and ended up in Auschwitz. The government of their own country of Slovakia paid the Nazis to take them and literally work them to death. Those few who survived did so by helping each other through horrific and unimaginable experiences, in spite of the danger this posed to themselves.
The author spent years doing extensive research and interviewing survivors in order to write this book as well as to produce the film. The documents she uncovered and the people with whom she established long lasting relationships are amazing.
Participating in this special event reminded me that learning about and acknowledging the truth helps us to work towards a better world and that respect, tolerance and kindness toward each other can help us to survive even the most difficult times.
Alice N. Duehl
Urges supervisors to see ‘truckstop’ site plan before approving zoning text amendment
The Botetourt County Planning Commission is scheduled to hear a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to add a new use in the B-2 District- Convenience Center, Highway on February 14 at 6 p.m. The Board of Supervisors agreed to send this request to the Planning Commission for review and public comment.
This new use category would be allowed within a half-mile of Botetourt County I-81 interchanges (all designed for rural traffic) on a minimum 10-acre parcel. This new use designation would allow a convenience store with alcohol and tobacco sales, restaurant, drive in, self-service auto fuel and high flow commercial diesel dispensing facility, electric vehicle charging, car wash, indoor and outdoor seating, and on-site parking (auto and commercial truck), operating 24/7/365.
What is driving this text amendment? A planned development at I-81 Exit 162 south of downtown Buchanan that includes high-speed diesel dispensing and 50+ tractor-trailer parking spaces. Does that sound like a truckstop to you?
The developer has declined to provide a schematic site plan as an example of what the proposed text amendment would look like in an actual development. For this reason, the approval of the text amendment prior to a development plan being submitted for approval is premature.
If the text amendment is approved, the use cannot be denied. The issue will then become what the developer will be required to do to mitigate the impacts of the proposed development by the Board of Supervisors. These impacts are expected to be traffic (for tractor-trailers and increased volume of cars), noise generated by commercial truck parking, light pollution and perhaps decreased air quality. Traffic of this type and quantity will most certainly require a substantial upgrade of the interchange for safety.
If you agree that the Convenience Center, Highway use zoning text amendment should not be made without a related development plan, make your opinion known. Call your local Planning Commissioner, Board of Supervisors member, or attend the public hearing on February 14 to make your voice heard. We expect these officials to protect the interest of Botetourt County. They should know all the facts before making a decision that could change the character of the area around such allowed use. Approval of the text amendment along with the proposed development plan submittal would be a more responsible process for consideration by Botetourt County.