A zoning law that limits campground stays to 30 nights a year in Bedford County, Va., is a step closer to being relaxed, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance.
The Bedford County Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday night (Aug. 20) to recommend changing the limit to 180 days. The county’s zoning ordinance has specified the 30-day limit since 1998.
Tom Buck and Kay Knisley, who each own campgrounds in Huddleston southeast of Roanoke, asked Monday that the limit be increased to 180 days.
Buck, who originally made the request earlier this year, said the 83 lessees at his Mitchell’s Point Campground and Marina want the change since they pay year-round leases.
“The campers who stay there a long time take care of the place,” said Buck.
Due to development, Buck said Bedford has lost 800 campsites in the past five years. He currently has full occupancy with a waiting list of 25 and gets two to three calls a day from people wanting to get in. Some have paid as much as $500 to be on the top of the waiting list, he said.
“Access on the lake for the average guy is almost impossible,” said Buck.
Buck doesn’t want visitors to live at the campground year-round, which is why he supports the 180-night limit. He doesn’t allow residents to receive mail there and none is allowed to rent out their sites, he said.
Knisley said the people who come and go at her Eagles’ Roost Campground are like family. For that, she said she wouldn’t sell to developers.
“Money isn’t everything,” said Knisley.
Unlike Mitchell’s Point, Knisely operates her campground seven months out of the year. But reservations for overnight spots on her land are so popular that she said they must be made a year in advance.
Buck estimates that 3,000 people pass through his grounds on an average summer weekend.
“My personal opinion is a campground is a business – I don’t feel comfortable telling a business how many nights people can stay there,” said commission member Robin Hartman.
Chairman Fred Fralick asked why the limit had to be 180 days. Commission member Rick Crockett said that the campground owners requested it and it seemed reasonable.
The Board of Supervisors will likely decide a final outcome on the zoning change in September.