New Market still looking to grow amid Voluntary Settlement Agreement denial

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 11:54 PM EDT
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NEW MARKET, Va. (WHSV) - The town of New Market’s growth plan is now on hold after last week’s Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors meeting.

“We’re very disappointed we put a lot of work into this trying to get this to grow our community, we’ve started infrastructure changes in preparation for it, water tower tank to increase our water facilities,” Larry Bompiani, mayor of New Market said.

Amending the Voluntary Settlement Agreement (VSA) had been in the works for months but was denied by the board of supervisors.

“In 2012 the town and the county came up with this Voluntary Settlement agreement that we could annex property in without having to go through the courts to annex it from the county but there were stipulations put on what the land density could be, it was based back in 2012 when the economy was very slow,” Bompiani said.

Now, it’s back to the drawing board for the town of New Market.

“It was allowing for only one house for every two acres and so we were asking the county to go ahead and amend that so we can put more density and allow the zoning of our town to make that final decision,” Bompiani said.

The agreement was supposed to help the town grow, something Mayor Larry Bompiani said the town hasn’t experienced in 10 years.

“We’ve actually shrunk from about 2200 in population in 2010 to 2150 and with that our aging population, we’re an average age of 54 years of age whereas all the other towns in Shenandoah County are anywhere from 36 to 39 years of age,” Bompiani said.

He said they hope to revisit the proposal and see if they can make more comfortable changes for the county supervisors and New Market residents.

“We want our character to stay a small town we’re willing to listen to our concerned citizens and work with them but really if we don’t get this VSA amended, this Voluntary Settlement Agreement amended, then no developer is going to want to come in and put one house for every 50 ... or every 2 acres,” he said.

Although a concerned community group was in opposition to the agreement Bompiani said he hopes moving forward everyone can be on board.

“We don’t want to be northern Virginia we just want controlled growth, and so I think we need to do a better job as the council to educate even the supervisors as well as the concerned citizens group of what our new proposal will be so there’s no gray area that we’re all on board to say it’s a win for everybody,” Bompiani said.

He said it will be months before a new proposal is brought to the board of supervisors.