Thanks to the many Keezletown residents who participated along the way in the Keezletown Community Meeting series to craft a vision for the next 50 years and to develop a set of actions and guidelines to ensure that vision is realized. It is obvious that the Keezletown community shares a deep commitment to the history and future of the area and this work will benefit generations of Keezletown residents to come.
At this third and final meeting, the community agreed upon a final vision statement:
In 50 years, Keezletown’s landscapes remain open and agricultural and the village retains its historic look and feel. Community members new and old value and work together to preserve the community’s rich history, quiet rural character, and dark skies. The pace of life in Keezletown is slow and laidback. Keezletown’s natural and scenic assets are protected and outdoor recreation amenities are designed for local enjoyment and visitors who appreciate our rural community. Residents move about with safety and ease between homes, local parks, working farms, and cherished gathering places in the village.
The group also approved the final project boundary, which you can view in this final input map that pulls together information we heard at our first meeting in September 2022.
And meeting attendees signed off on edits made to Keezletown Community Priorities to capture input from the second meeting in November 2022.
✧ Protect Farmland and Rural Character
✧ Protect Natural Environment and Views
✧ Retain and Enhance Village Character and Importance as a Vibrant Community Center
✧ Address Transportation Needs and Opportunities
✧ Preserve Historic Sites and Structures
✧ Strengthen Community Connections
Next, a set of recommended actions were presented and agreed upon. The recommendations are organized as tasks for the county and tasks for the community and are categorized by the above priority areas. You can view the recommendations presented to the group on slides 8-26.
Meeting attendees suggested two modifications to the county recommendations which will be reflected in the final report:
1. Under Protection of Natural Environment and Views, we recommended the county action to, ‘allow small scale solar. Discourage siting of utility scale solar’ (slide 11). Meeting attendees questioned whether this framing might be an oversimplification. There was some opposition to and some interest in larger utility scale projects. Those who were in support were only interested in projects that would be compatible with the community priorities.
2. Meeting attendees expressed hesitation at the potential of ‘applying for Virginia Byway status’ also under Protection of Natural Environment and Views (slide 11). Folks had questions about traffic impacts of such a designation. It was agreed that this item will be removed from the county action section and moved to recommended community actions for additional research (the Alliance can help).
Lastly, meeting attendees prioritized recommended community actions and signed up to follow, participate in or lead initiatives. If you missed the meeting and would like to be involved with a community initiative(s), please take this survey to sign up—we’ll leave it open a few weeks and then we’ll follow up with interested folks to connect them with each other and any resources and contacts we can provide.
So, what’s next? We’re working on producing a formal report that can serve as a guiding document for both the Keezletown community and for Rockingham County as they update their comprehensive land use plan that will guide decisions for the next 20 years.
THANK YOU to everyone who put so much thought and time into this process!