Board approves campgrounds

Published 3:43 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously during its regular meeting Tuesday to approve special use permits for campgrounds proposed to be located on Clark Street and Green Bay Road.

Joseph Hines

Approval of the request for a campground located on Clark Street came with the discussion of several requirements, including that a fence be placed between properties, that durations of stay on the campground match whatever the current ordinance is, believed to be 30 days, and that the campground be designated a non-construction camp.

Joseph Hines made the request for both special use permits. The proposed Clark Street campground was previously approved by the Prince Edward County Planning Commission, as was the proposed Green Bay Road campground.

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Public hearings on both requests preceded the board’s decisions Tuesday, and one person spoke in opposition to the request related to the proposed campground on Clark Street.

This speaker was Ronald Sandlin, of Re/Max Advantage Plus in Farmville, and he shared concerns on the impact of a campground on neighbors like Hospice of Virginia, a potential daycare center and a Longwood University student housing project down the street.

“Will somebody be monitoring the noises and trash issues and campfire smoke and possible abuse of the surrounding properties?” he said. “Won’t there be traffic issues with the surrounding properties? Large RVs that may want to use the campsites, will the RVs be using properties in the vicinity to turn around in and secure things before heading out of the area? What about the campers that cut through existing properties such as ours at 202 (Clark Street) in order to get to another property, like the bowling alley right behind us? When looking at a special use request, one of the main aspects to consider is what is the impact on the local neighborhood and community. I think in this case the approval of a special use permit to allow a campsite this close to the existing residential student housing and the dedicated businesses is a big negative and should not be approved. This is not the right location for a sea of RVs.”

Hines expressed sensitivity to neighbors of the proposed campground in his comments to the board during the public hearing.

“I’ve already talked to a number of people about this who’ve asked about it, and I always try to make very clear to them, we want to be a very good neighbor and a good citizen and do this in a very responsible and respectful manner,” he said. “And (by) responsible, I mean follow the laws and regulations associated with putting a campsite like this in, respectful manner in that if there’s any complaints, deal with them on an up-front basis. I’ll be glad to give my cell phone to any neighbor who is concerned about that, and they can call me any time of the day or night, and we’ll proactively address that.”

C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr.

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett asked if Longwood University had any issues with the proposal. Jen Cox, director of local and community relations in Longwood’s University Advancement department, was present at Tuesday’s meeting and noted that Longwood has no concerns about the campsite proposed.

Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. brought up the possibility of a fence.

“I would like to see some sort of separation, some buffer or some separation between the property owners,” he said, later noting it could serve primarily as a deterrent for neighboring people wandering into the campground.

Timmons also outlined the other requirements listed for the campground.

During the public hearing, Hines made a case for the demand and practicality of the campsite.

“Part of the catalyst for considering this project was the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but as we’ve done additional research, evidently there’s a real need for campers throughout this market, from what I understand,” he said.

A 30-day duration of stay for residents on the campground was noted as a restriction that would help prevent the campsite from being used primarily by construction workers who are in the area due to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline build.