Protecting Port Republic

The Valley Banner

PORT REPUBLIC – Protecting the character of the village of Port Republic was once again discussed last week.

The third and final meeting in a series of workshops was held April 7, at the town hall on Water Street.

Protecting the “village green,” a .42-acre parcel located on Port Republic Road across from the Port Republic Museum, is one of residents’ goals.

County Supervisor Rick Chandler said that one of his family members sold the land to the current owners.

According to county records, the parcel is owned by Palo Alto, Calif., residents Peter Pollock and Susan Hansen. The couple purchased the vacant land in 2010 for $66,000.

Chandler said the couple had planned to retire to the area and build a home there.

Port Republic residents who attended last week’s meeting talked about persuading the landowners to voluntarily protect it from development.

Chandler noted this may be possible since the county board of supervisors in February voted to create a voluntary conservation easement ordinance. This enables landowners to be approved for conservation easement grants, he said.

Chandler, who lived in Port Republic for 30 years before moving a mile outside the village in 1992, said the place “hasn’t changed much at all” over the years.

At last week’s meeting, village residents agreed to use their museum’s board of directors – meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. – to promote their desires to county supervisors and the planning commission.

Kim Sandum, director of the Community Alliance for Preservation, said a planning report from the series of workshops should be ready in a couple of months.

She noted that the county left a “gap” in its zoning some years ago when it created the “rural village business district” category.

“The rural village zoning is south of the village,” she said. “We’re trying to mesh what’s on the ground and what the community wants (with the zoning).”

Sandum hopes that county will use the planning report to revise its zoning ordinances and comprehensive plan.

In addition to preserving the village green, residents would like: a scenic byway designation for Port Republic Road, a trail that would run around the village to the Port Republic Battlefield and include pedestrian bridge across the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, a scenic river designation, a crosswalk to the museum, and more street lights in the village.

Creation of an overlay district that would protect the village’s character “but not micro-manage” is also a goal.

The workshops were made possible by a National Park Service grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program.

For more information, call the museum at 249-0040 or go to

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