Document Type

Professional Plan Capstone

Original Publication Date



Highland County, Virginia, and the Town of Monterey


Highland County, Virginia

Date of Submission

May 2022


“Growing Small: Citizen Preferences for New Development in Highland County, Virginia and the Town of Monterey” is a plan by Charles Wilson for Highland County (“Highland”) as they reconsider the future of the Town of Monterey (“Monterey”). Highland is a rural county in western Virginia at the intersection of U.S. Routes 250 and 220. In the Summer of 2021, a new Family Dollar was issued permits to demolish an historical lodging facility and construct a new store—just a few buildings away from an existing Dollar General. This was not without controversy, but ultimately prompted reflection amongst community members for how Monterey can maintain its character over time. Aiding in this reflection, “Growing Small” asked Highland and Monterey citizens to respond to a “visual preference survey” that was administered in-person. The survey distilled planning concepts and outcomes by presenting two contrasting scenarios for specific subjects (such as street design, land use patterns, building features, and parking location) and asking respondents to measure their preference for either scenario. These preferences were tabulated and summarized, as shown at the end of the Findings chapter. Enabling Legislation in Virginia was analyzed to recommend three potential methods of codifying these preferences into local ordinance(s). The primary takeaway of “Growing Small” is that community preferences for a quality built environment are easily revealed by this methodology. The recommendations are mindful of small locality’s bandwidth for codification and enforcement, and because of that this plan may offer a template for other places to consider.


© Charles Fordham Wilson

Is Part Of

Master of Urban and Regional Planning Capstone Projects

APPENDIX A (Historic Building Inventory)_20220510_Growing Small.pdf (28461 kB)
Inventory of Historic Buildings in Monterey

APPENDIX B (Visual Preference Survey)_20220510_Growing Small.pdf (1162 kB)
Visual Preference Survey (blank)

APPENDIX C (population trends by USDA code)_20220510_Growing Small.xlsx (796 kB)
National Population Trends by USDA Rural Urban Continuum Code, 2010-2020

APPENDIX D (Charette Exhibits)_20220510_Growing Small.pdf (5260 kB)
Charette Exhibits