The Bedford County Planning Commission in Virginia will hold a public hearing tonight on a proposal to dramatically increase the maximum number of nights that campers can spend in campgrounds, according to the Roanoke Times.
The current county ordinance limits the number of nights to 30 per calendar year, but the proposed amendment would raise the limit to 180 days.
Tom Buck, owner of Mitchell’s Point Campground and Marina on Smith Mountain Lake, approached the commission with questions regarding the ordinance earlier this year.
“It has never been enforced,” he said. “I think it is sort of an oversight.”
Bedford County’s zoning ordinance was adopted in 1998 and modeled after Roanoke County’s, according to Mary Zirkle, the county’s chief of planning.
The county is in the process of revamping the entire zoning ordinance to reflect changes in the recently approved comprehensive plan.
Buck rents his campsites on annual contracts. He estimates 20% to 30% of his tenants stay more than 30 days per calendar year.
“If they are paying for it, they want the right to come and go as much as they want,” he said.
At the same time, Buck does not permit anyone to set up a permanent residence at his campground. “I don’t want anybody to live here year-round or to receive mail here,” he said.
Eagle’s Roost Campground in Huddleston and Mitchell’s Point are the only remaining private campgrounds on the Bedford County side of Smith Mountain Lake. The campground at Campers Paradise will close in November to make way for more than 200 waterfront condominiums.