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Festival Permit Approved

CUMBERLAND – The festival permit for the scheduled Bodacious Motorsport events in April and May was approved by the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors with the addition of five new conditions that address safety during the Board's meeting on Tuesday, March 8.

And, according to Cumberland's Planning Director Andrew Sorrell, the approval of the third event for September will potentially be determined by a conditional use permit that would allow time for the County's Planning Commission to process the necessary zoning text amendments and conditional user permit over the course of the spring and summer.

He also stated that it would be “better practice” for the County to manage the requests by a conditional use permit where Cumberland could stipulate certain conditions it would like to see followed in order for the event to keep taking place.

“This sounds like a good policy,” said Board Chairman Van Petty, District Three. “…There should have been something like this in place…”

In July of last year and in February, Sorrell asserted, he met with the organizers of the event to discuss the impact on the Cartersville community.

According to Sorrell, future conditions would incorporate feedback from state and local agencies such as the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Health Department, and the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control as well as the Cumberland Sheriff's Office and the Planning Commission but in the meantime he had gathered enough information to suggest that the Board adopt the festival permit with five conditions while work continues on the lengthy conditional use permit process.

“I think it's not the intent of staff or any other County agency or group to shut this event down-that's not the goal at all,” clarified Sorrell about the need for the conditions. “It's just to make sure that it is continuing to serve the interests of the people of Cumberland County and, specifically, the citizens of the Cartersville area.”

The organizer of the event is the Four-Wheel Drive Conversation Club, who is represented by Mike Morris, and the event takes place on Boston Hill Road on property owned by M.L. Duncan Jr., in the Cartersville area of Cumberland.

Bodacious is a four-wheel drive/off road vehicle event that has been occurring in Cumberland since approximately 1975, according to Sorrell.

The events scheduled for April and May are approaching “too soon” in order for the Planning Commission and planning and zoning staff to complete the process required for revision to the zoning ordinance to accommodate the “unique nature” of Bodacious and review a conditional use permit application, Sorrell offered.

“We suggested that we process the first two events of the year, which would be in April and May, through a festival permit like we've done in the past and then their third event, which is typically the third weekend in September, through a conditional use permit that would be processed through the Planning Commission and then the Board of Supervisors holding a public hearing,” advised Sorrell. “With that festival permit, for the first two events…there would be several conditions proposed by staff just to ensure that as a trial run to see if they can meet these conditions…”

In order to improve the safety at the event, the Board approved the festival permit specifically for the April and May events with the following conditions:

Fee: Approval of Festival Permit #11-02 shall be contingent upon submittal of the required $25 application fee.

Security personnel: Beginning on Friday evening at 5 p.m. and running through the end of event activities on Sunday afternoon, one licensed security officer per every 250 attendees shall be required. One Emergency Medical Technician or off-duty fire and rescue personnel shall be on-hand when any race activity is occurring.

“Currently, the event has personnel there on Saturday and that typically is a county deputy or some type of deputy that is off duty,” noted Sorrell. “Right now, there is not anyone there that is a certified security guard person on Friday or on Sunday afternoon. Friday is when people start arriving…”

Hours permitted: All events (including motorsports events and other noise producing events such as entertainment) shall only take place during the hours between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m. All event activity shall cease no later than 12 a.m. (midnight).

“I did indicate that if the County was to receive noise complaints from adjacent property owners or people in that area those hours of operation might have to be reconsidered,” noted Sorrell. “That is a pretty isolated area… If we don't get any noise complaints, I think those hours of operation will be adequate.”

Manner of entry: Every individual requesting entry into the property shall provide a valid ID showing their date of birth. Both hands of individuals under the age of 21 shall be clearly marked with black permanent marker to clearly indicate they are under the age of 21.

“We'll be working with the Alcohol and Beverage Control Board to make sure alcohol at this event is controlled in a manner that is safe. But until that time-period when we get feedback from them, right now there is really no method to determine who is under the age of 21 and who isn't,” he said about the need to control the consumption of alcohol.

Garbage disposal: All garbage created by an event shall be removed from the property within 48 hours and shall be disposed of at approved locations.

After meeting the application fee, Sorrell noted that the other four conditions “really deal with safety.”

Related to the five approved conditions, it is the organizer's responsibility to see to it that they are followed for the upcoming two events and if the organizer or property owners are not conforming, the County then has the ability to void the festival permit.

“At the end of the day it is truly the property owner's responsibility to delegate that authority to the applicant which in this case is the Four-Wheel Drive Conversion Club…,” advised Sorrell about the event being sponsored by the club and not Cumberland.