Board takes vote on B&B

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Members of the Buckingham Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit for a proposed bed and breakfast on Route 607, on a 135-acre lot on Old Thirteen Road, but voted to table an event venue on the same property until concerns on the application were addressed.

The vote was unanimous for the bed and breakfast, which would be considered an Airbnb and potentially sleep up to 15. Cynthia Henshaw, who owns the property with husband Danny Henshaw, said they would rent four rooms.

The event venue, according to the application, would include weddings, family reunions and even archery tournaments and accommodate up to 300 people, according to the application.

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Three members of the public voiced concern about the volume of people traveling through the road, the close proximity of the event venue to nearby cattle and property and potential disease that could be spread to livestock during the public hearing. Buckingham Planning and Zoning Administrator Rebecca Cobb said the planning commission public hearing also saw concerns. Members of the commission also received letters and emails about the proposed event facility and bed and breakfast. Members of the planning commission voted six in favor and one opposed to recommend the project to the board.

Valerie Carter lives adjacent to the Henshaw’s property and expressed concern that while the applicants own the property, the property would still need to be regulated by the county.

“Isn’t it your job to say what any of us can and cannot do within legal limits that does have a potential negative community impact?” Valerie said to the board.

She encouraged the board to table the permit until an impact study can be conducted.

Robert Carter, Valerie’s husband, spoke about concerns related to a thorough traffic study and vague language on the application. He also asked whether campers attending events would dump sewage into nearby streams and ponds used by families along the road.

“This SUP is too open-ended and without oversight,” Robert said.

A biosecurity concern in 2006 from the Henshaw’s wild boar livestock that included concerns of pseudorabies and brucellosis, a zoological disease that could potentially be spread to people, necessitated a quarantine for the Carters and their livestock, Robert and Valerie said.

“Our livelihood is just as important as the applicants’,” Robert said, referencing the community.

Danny said there was a concern, but said the United States Department of Agriculture investigated the property, killing several dozen of the Henshaw’s livestock in the process.

“When it was all said and done, no virus was found,” Danny said.

Cynthia said her husband, after the biosecurity incident, had to work in the oil industry out of state. She said she has no source of income outside of the airbnb.

Cynthia said she took down the property from the airbnb website after the planning commission meeting.

“All we’re asking for is the opportunity to share our property with people,” Danny said.

District Two Supervisor Donnie Bryan expressed concern about the volume of traffic in the event the venue held approximately 300 people.

“Listening to the concerns from your neighbors, it’s a very narrow road,” Bryan said. “If I lived on that road, I would have genuine concerns.”

Danny said if a bad accident happened on Route 60, motorists could easily be detoured through Old Thirteen Road, bringing in about the same amount of traffic.

“We can’t regulate against all possibilities,” Danny said.

Cynthia said the most guests they have had at the property is 125 for a wedding, and does not anticipate 300 coming. She said the number was a safeguard in the event they did host that many people.

District Four Supervisor Morgan Dunnavant and Chairman Danny Allen recommend approving the bed and breakfast, but tabling the event venue until more specific details about the property could be included.