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Planners recommend denial for campground permit


By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah County Planning Commission recommended the Board of Supervisors deny a permit request to build a recreational campground near Toms Brook after hearing opposition from nearly a dozen neighbors.

Property owner Jerry Channell requested a special-use permit to operate a recreational campground at 3648 Riverview Drive, Toms Brook.

The commission voted 4-3 to recommend supervisors deny the permit.

Channell plans to build three cabins and additional septic systems on the property, according to documents filed with the Shenandoah County Planning Department. Channell has said he plans to allow recreational activities such as horseback riding, hiking and swimming.

The commission held a public hearing on the permit request at its meeting Thursday. Channell told the commission he would make an effort to monitor the campground use, prohibit alcohol consumption and other unwarranted activity. Channell removed from the permit request the option for primitive camping and a supply store.

Commission Chairman Gary Lantz advised the audience to pay attention to the eight stipulations included in the special-use permit to which Channell has already agreed to abide. Violating any of the conditions could result in the revocation of the permit.

Residents of the adjacent River of the Valley subdivision expressed concerns about traffic and noise they said they feared would arise from such a use. Representatives of the subdivision's homeowners association spoke against the request but several speakers suggested the commission put some restrictions on the permit should the panel endorse the proposal. The homeowners association has spent its funds to maintain and improve the roads but some speakers said they worried the additional traffic would undo that work.

Neighbors expressed concern that such a use would detract from the subdivision's "quality of life." Another resident said she was concerned that the neighbors would not know the "12 strangers" who used the campground.

Channell currently rents a home on the property and can do so by right under the Shenandoah County ordinance, according to Joyce Fadeley, zoning subdivision administrator.

Members of the Board of Supervisors questioned what restrictions the county could impose on the owner.

Fadeley explained to the commission that, per the county attorney, supervisors can put specific restrictions on the permit if, in fact, the use of the roads sustain damage as a result of the traffic to the site. Fadeley also explained that there will be no phase II as that called for primitive camping.

Ron Falyar, president of the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, read comments on behalf of the organization.

"The Friends of the North Fork does not want to discourage recreational use of the Shenandoah River," Falyar said.

However, Falyar noted the proposed campground use lies close to a floodplain. Falyar told the commission that locating a drainfield in a floodplain increases the chances that septic sewage could enter and harm the soil, Falyar said.




4 Comments



I have been to the Shenandoah Valley numerous times and would love to be able to rent a cabin and enjoy the "quality of life", if only for a weekend, that The Friends of North Fork are trying to protect. For those of us who do not live in the Valley, being able to spend some "quality time" in this beautiful community is as close to that "quality of life" that we may ever be able to achieve. If they are truly concerned that they would not know the "12 strangers that use the campground"....let us look at the recent shootings in Colorado and ask ourselves this...."do any of us really know who are neighbors are"? A stranger is only someone that you haven't met yet. This person could become a new life long friend. As far as their concerns that the septic sewage could enter and harm the soil.....if Mr. Channell is willing to maintain the roads, and is providing all measures to protect the soil and the river, then only God can control "what could happen". In recent years I have seen major metropolitan cities and subdivisions that are not in floodplains receive massive amounts of rainfall causing sewer systems to overflow into fields or streams. So in actuality any of the houses along this proposed campground site "could" contaminate the soil or the river. Let's not forget either that by building this campground, Mr. Channell is also helping to increase revenue in this community.

I do not live in the community near where Mr. Channell's property is, so no matter what decision was reached regarding Mr. Channell's permit, it does not effect me one way or another. However, those people who do live in this area evidently do feel that building this business that Mr. Channell wants to build in their residential neighborhood, would bring in more traffic on their streets, and noise to their homes. That has to be respected. When these homeowners bought their homes there, Mr. Channell's property was a farm---not a business. I think it was a fair decision and the right decision to deny his permit for this business.

There are plenty of other cabins, campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts to rent already existing here in the Shenandoah Valley in beautiful areas where racerondirt and others can come to enjoy "quality time" here in our communities. There are numerous, wonderful cabins to rent sitting on the banks of the Shenandoah River just over in Luray if racerondirt wants to rent a cabin right on the river.

More proof of Goverment control, you may buy it, but you do not own it. God forbid anyone may try to start a bussines in this good ole boy county.

port a potty's, portable out houses, johnny blue's or whatever people call them could have been an option on the septic situation. I've been to alot of campgrounds, especially along rivers that have them. If I'm going to camp, sometimes we have to rough it. Just bring a bucket if you don't like johnny blue.



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