Horsley returns to planning commission, growing district representation

Don Horsley, a farmer from Blackwater, is rejoining the Virginia Beach Planning Commission. [John-Henry Doucette]
Don Horsley, a farmer from Blackwater, is rejoining the Virginia Beach Planning Commission. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

COURTHOUSE – A second member of the planning commission is from the Princess Anne District, and, though he is occupying an at-large spot, he is a familiar face.

Farmer Don Horsley this year rejoined the advisory body on planning matters he has served a number of times since the mid-1980s.

His goal, he said in an interview, is to “just represent the people in the rural and the agricultural area.”

Horsley, among other things, was Virginia Farmer of the Year in 2011. His term began on Jan. 1, and he joined the Princess Anne District’s representative, Dr. Karen Beardslee Kwasny, who has served on the planning commission since Jan. 1, 2015. Both said they are glad to work with each other on issues in the rural area and elsewhere in the district.

In an interview, Kwasny called the return of Horsley a “great thing” for the district.

City Councilmember Barbara Henley, who represents the Princess Anne District, credited Mayor Will Sessoms for making the pick become a reality, helping the southern part of the city’s representation on planning issues. Henley, a farmer, has discussed for some time the need for two commission members due to the diversity and size of the district. 

“I felt that part of the city needed someone from the agricultural community on the planning commission,” Sessoms said during a recent interview at City Hall.

Horsley said pressing priorities for the planning commission include completing the comprehensive plan revision, which has had delays within the past year.

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