By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
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.