After receiving mixed feedback from citizens, the Bedford County (Va.) Board of Supervisors approved a special zoning permit Monday (Sept. 28) for a primitive campground near Smith Mountain Lake, 20 miles southeast of Roanoke.
The board voted 6-1 to grant the permit for Camp Karma, a planned 41-acre campground on Stone Mountain Road. The land, located near Moneta, is zoned Agricultural Rural Preserve, which required special approval from officials for operation of a campground, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.
Linda Frisbee, the owner and a resident who moved to the county 26 years ago, said she has done everything she could to respect neighbors’ privacy in formulating the project. She called it a “win-win situation,” saying she would retain the land’s natural beauty and the county could attain revenue from users.
“I’m 50 now and I need to make some decisions,” Frisbee told supervisors. “Doing nothing with the property is not an option.”
William Swain, a neighboring property owner in opposition, said his concern was that the attraction could generate trespassing on his land. He also questioned its potential effect on his land value. “I really have concerns about this project and we are against it.”
Several others raised concerns about noise and increased traffic it could cause in the quiet area. Another concern raised was alcohol availability, which Frisbee said would be closely monitored.
A handful of other residents, however, described it as a good idea.
Jack Doyle, a resident who said he volunteers at a lake visitor’s center, said he constantly gets phone calls from people looking for campgrounds.
“It’s an opportunity for the county and the area,” he said of the campground. “There’s a definite need for that reason, I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The project is planned to develop in two phases. The first would consist of 37 tent campsites for tents and small campers. The second phase would contain 11 tent campsites, eight sites with electricity for large campers and motorhomes, an existing pond with two picnic shelters and a structure that would contain a bath house and store. The project would also include recreational amenities.
District 2 Supervisor Chuck Neudorfer said he toured the site and didn’t think noise and lighting would be an issue.
“I understand everyone’s concern,” he said while making a motion for its approval. “Nobody likes change I believe this is a reasonable project. It’s only reasonable counting on the people developing it to do the right thing.”