Morton and Wilson

Morton (right) will be filling the seat left by her father (left) on the Altavista Planning Commission.

For nearly 50 years, a member of the Woodson clan has served on the Altavista Planning Commission. With the appointment of ACS teacher Jennifer Morton to the commission, that trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Morton’s father, John Woodson, recently retired from the planning commission after 17 years of service. Woodson said he was happy to serve the town, but that he felt it was time for him to step down and for someone like Morton, who he said will bring a new perspective and ask questions that other board members might miss, to step up.

“I definitely think I bring a younger perspective,” Morton said.

Morton said it wasn’t long ago that her father suggested she apply. Though initially unsure whether she would or not, Woodson was ultimately able to convince her that she would be a good fit for the role.

“I enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun all those years,” Woodson said about his time on the commission. “But it’s just time to pass the torch.”

Woodson said he joined the planning commission because someone needed to fill the spot left by his father, Claude N. Woodson Jr., who had served on the commission for decades. 

Woodson said he was happy to follow his father and work on projects like updating zoning processes, shaping the town’s sign ordinances and downtown area and working on comprehensive plans for the town every five years.

“It was always to move the town forward,” Woodson said. “And it was always a pleasure being involved in it and learning about what’s going on, and trying to make a contribution to that effort.”

The Woodsons’ service on the planning commission already stretches across decades, and with the appointment of Morton, will last a least a few years more.

“It’s a lot to live up to,” Morton said. “They have big shoes for me to fill, that’s for sure.”