Blacksburg Town candidates discuss relationships with Montgomery County, Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Blacksburg is the second largest town in Virginia, according to population, and has to maintain strong relationships with both Virginia Tech and Montgomery County.

That's exactly what was talked about at a local candidate panel forum tonight.

People of Blacksburg want to know how to repair the broken relationship with Montgomery County, that the three candidates for Mayor agree, got worse with the action on the Old Blacksburg High School.

Krisha Chachra, a candidate for Mayor and Town Council member, said, "Personal relationships is a very important launching point to mitigate that relationship. Of the three females that are on the Board of Supervisors, one of them was my teacher, two of them came to my bridal shower, one came to my baby shower."

Fellow candidate and Town Council member Leslie Hager-Smith responded, "If baby showers and parties and teaching could put us all together, that would have happened by now. So I want to suggest in the gentlest way that this is the responsibility of us all."

The third candidate, Edward Lawhorn, added, "New leadership, at least in the Mayor's spot will be effective. I know leadership in Montgomery, but I also know leadership in Christiansburg, Giles, and I think that will go a long way."

Also at Thursday's panel were the four candidates vying for three spots on Town Council. A discussion over quality of neighborhoods turned into talk about having more housing for non-students.

Incumbent Susan Anderson said, "We have to make sure that we have all kinds of housing options in our neighborhoods. Housing for seniors and retirees, for young professionals, for our workforce, and for our students."

Lauren Colliver said, "We need to support in-home daycare centers so that we can help solve our problem of being a daycare desert for working families that need childcare."

Ken Jones added, "If you have somebody that's renting a house to five people that's only zoned for three, they're driving up the cost of real estate in your neighborhood, and affordable housing is an issue in this town."

Susan Mattingly concluded, "I think we need to be proactive in code enforcement. I think when you can see six cars parked on the lawn, it's kind of a clue that it may be an over occupied house."

Candidates also spoke on making Blacksburg more environmentally friendly, more handicapped accessible, and creating more pathways and parking around town.

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