New Computer Program

By: Rachel DePompa
By: Rachel DePompa

A vote on a controversial plan for Massanutten Mountain is likely to happen in August. Great Eastern Resort wants to build more than 400 timeshares on the eastern slope of the mountain.

The Rockingham County Board of Supervisors tabled the request. But, the board recently got to see what the plans will look like, thanks to a new computer program.

It creates 3D images, so we can actually see what a developer wants to build before a bulldozer ever starts its engine.

The county used to only plot new developments and businesses on regular maps.

"You could tell once you're looking down on it, the impact a development may have an adjacent property, on a stream, on a road, but we really couldn't get a picture of what it might look like," Billy Vaughn says.

Now they can. The maps have gone 3D. The program combines aerial photographs of the county with geographic information.

Anytime a company wants to build a new cell phone tower, most people want to know what it will look like from their backyard.

"With this software we're able to project the image of a tower in 3D and we can view that tower from any point; 360 degrees from it's location to determine the visual impact it may have on an area," Vaughn says.

The new program won't have the power to sway the board's decision, it's just one of the many tools used to make the final call.

The county is still learning how to use the equipment. Once they have it down pat, you'll probably start to see 3D images used in public hearings in the next year.

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