Bodatious Permit Passes

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CUMBERLAND – During their April 9 meeting, the Cumberland Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use permit (CUP) allowing Old Dominion 4-Wheel Drive Club to hold Bodatious motorsports events three weekends a year in northern Cumberland County. The permit will need to be renewed in one year.

Supervisors Bill Osl, District One; Kevin Ingle, District Three; and Parker Wheeler, District Five, voted in favor of the permit. Chairman David Meinhard, District Four, and Vice-Chairman Lloyd Banks, District Two, were opposed.

Last month, the Cumberland Planning Commission had voted to recommend the permit to the board on a similarly contentious vote, with four members in favor and three opposed.

Email newsletter signup

“There's a lot of pulling in both directions. I can understand the rights of the landowners that live there, that want to have a peaceful life… in the country,” Ingle said while discussing the CUP.

He continued, “I also see the wants of the club and…the owner of the property to be able to exercise the right to be able to have a controlled event on the property.”

Ingle went on to state that he felt the CUP provides key items that relate to the major concerns of the residents of Boston Hill Road.

Bodatious motorsports events are hosted by Old Dominion 4-Wheel Drive Club and have been occurring at 405 Boston Hill Road, Cartersville, since the late 1970s, according to a staff report. The weekend event includes off-road racing, a Saturday night concert and the availability of overnight camping. According to the report, events average 500-750 people in attendance, with an average of 500 camping.

The majority of those who spoke during the board's public hearing on the permit stated they reside on Boston Hill Road. The road is used to access the event and is unpaved on one end. Concerns were raised regarding the safety of the road and the overall effect of the event on neighboring properties.

Everett Carnes announced that he was a homeowner directly across the road from where the event is held. He stated that Bodatious had been going on since the spring of 1974. Listing issues of dust, noise and “rowdiness,” Carnes concluded, “I have to put up with that. And we've put up with it since 1974. We're sick and tired of it and we hope you can do something about it to make it – if you're going to keep it – to make it more tolerable. Someway, somehow something needs to be done.”

Osl, who represents District One where the event is located, voted in support of the CUP. He pointed out that the permit contains 26 conditions. “If these conditions…can't be met. If they (the club) can't be in compliance, then, probably, the next step is good-bye.

“But, I felt like we owed it, as an initial step, to say, 'Can we get control first, or do we say good-bye right away when we haven't even tried to take the interim step?'”

Banks voted against the CUP. He stated, “I'm here to represent my citizens and what their desires are and the desires of citizens in District Two have made it clear to me that they do not support this event.”

The first event was held this past weekend on April 13 and 14. Unless the board revokes the permit, Bodatious events are scheduled for June and September of this year as well.

Due to a change in the County's zoning ordinance, this is the first time the Old Dominion 4-Wheel Drive Club has been required to submit an application for a CUP for Bodatious motorsports events. In the past, the County issued yearly festival permits.

The CUP approved by the board is five pages long and lists 26 specific conditions the event must meet, which range from noise and lighting to security and alcohol consumption.

In contrast, the previous festival permits for Bodatious were based on a short-answer two-page form. The last festival permit, approved by the board for 2012, included only four conditions.

The CUP states, “Violation of any of these terms and conditions shall, at the sole discretion of the Zoning Administrator, be grounds for revocation of this Conditional Use Permit by the Board of Supervisors.”

The board moved that the permit be resubmitted for renewal after only one year, instead of the original four year period recommended by the Cumberland Planning Commission.

Supervisors in favor of the permit justified a one-year renewal period by pointing out that the permit could be revoked at any time if conditions are not met.

Wheeler stated, “If things didn't go well this weekend, then we can discuss not having one in June.”

Meinhard had hoped to approve the CUP to be renewed after only one event, not after an entire year. Following the vote, he explained that he voted in opposition to the CUP because of the one-year renewal term stated in the motion.

Three new conditions were added in addition to the 23 previously listed in the CUP recommended by the Cumberland Planning Commission.

During the public hearing held during the planning commission's meeting last month, it was determined that many neighboring property owners had issues with the safety of Boston Hill Road.

In her staff report, Interim Planning Director Rachel Falkenstein stated she consulted with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) following that meeting. She recommended the three conditions be added regarding traffic control, dust control and a VDOT permit be added.

Philip Parker Jr., of Parker Consulting, LLC, spoke on behalf of Old Dominion 4-Wheel Drive Club during the board's meeting. He stated that the organizers were in agreement with the conditions, including the new road conditions, stating, “we'll try to make it as safe as it possibly (can be).”

Evidently, concerns over the road have already brought some results. Penny Melino, a resident of Boston Hill Road, stated that in the past week VDOT had done extensive work on the road. “Unfortunately,” she added, “it also renders many of our concerns moot.”