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Urquhart resigns the Planning Commission

Vice Chair Desiree P. Urquhart reluctantly resigned her position with the Colonial Beach Planning Commission after the March meeting. She has been called away to the family homestead in Zuni, VA, to care for her elderly mother on a full-time basis.

Urquhart moved to Colonial Beach six years ago, and became a member of the Planning Commission two years later. Her contributions to the Town will be felt for years to come.

Calling herself a “come here”, one would never have guessed Urquhart had not grown up in Colonial Beach. Her work on the 2009 Comprehensive Plan showed a fond interest in the future of this community.

Urquhart wrote in her resignation to Chairwoman Maureen Holt, “My time on the Commission has been one of the most rewarding and personally fulfilling volunteer opportunities I’ve ever had. To have been a part of the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, and to have learned so much from my fellow commissioners about a town I’ve grown to love more than any other place I’ve ever lived in this country, has been more than a privilege. It’s been an honor.”

Urquhart offered challenging and opposing viewpoints, without offending other volunteer members. She modestly credits the energy and camaraderie of the Commission to Chairwoman Maureen Holt.

Urquhart said of Holt, “I truly appreciate the time I’ve served with you as your vice chair. Under your leadership, the energy and camaraderie of the Commission has grown into a cohesive team that can present opposing opinions with respect, and yet unite in decisions for the betterment of the town and its citizens.”
Urged on by former Commissioner Margaret McMullen and the support of the town, Urquhart was able to secure her planning commissioner’s certification through the Citizens Planning Education Association of Virginia program administered by Virginia Tech. Urquhart said, “For that I am extremely grateful. It’s also been a pleasure to get to know, and to have worked with numerous members of town government and other community leaders.”

Urquhart was best known for her attention to details, performing the editorial work on policies that came before the Commission. But when it came to policy drafting and changes, throughout her tenure she took each new assignment given to the Commission as an individual undertaking. Unlike her colleagues, who generally keep the same political stance on all matters, Urquhart took each situation on an individual basis.
For example, back in July of last year, Urquhart sided with Commissioner David Coombes when he felt amendments to zoning regulations gave Building and Zoning Director Gary Mitchell too much power over rescinding permits. But in the case of introducing well-head protection, Urquhart disagreed with Coombes, who felt that putting a well-head overlay district in place was regulatory overreach. Commissioner Urquhart sided with Commissioners Robin Schick and Chair Maureen Holt, who all felt the need to protect the town’s water supply was worth looking into.

Urquhart ended her resignation by saying, “I hope I was able to add something positive to the workings of the Commission, that others after me will feel compelled to continue. There still is much to be done; the work really never ends. I only wish I could remain to see all things new and improved come to fruition.”

Urquhart’s presence with the Commission will be missed by all, but her work will continue to touch the lives of those in Colonial Beach.

Linda Farneth

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