Va. County OK’s Longer Camper Stays
Bedford County, Va., officials made sure Monday (Sept. 24) that the county's campgrounds stay getaway spots for travelers, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance.
The Board of Supervisors voted to increase the number of nights guests are allowed to stay at campgrounds per year from 30 nights to 180.
The intent of the 30-night rule was to make sure campgrounds don't allow permanent residency. In practice, campgrounds often let people stay longer, County Attorney Carl Boggess said.
Tom Buck, owner of Mitchell's Point Marina and Campground in Huddleston, made the request for 180 days to officials earlier this year. He said that, if enforced, the 30-night limit would severely hurt his business, which operates through year-round leases.
"You'd put me out of business if I couldn't do annual leases," said Buck.
Buck described the people who stay there as "family" who love their spots near the lake. He, like county officials, doesn't want those to become permanent homes, he said.
He estimated that most of the users of his 83 campsites stay around 45 days out of the year. They aren't allowed to get mail there and most come during weekends, he said.
"I don't want a mobile home park," said Buck. "All I want is a nice campground – 180 days is a reasonable number."
Supervisor Gary Lowry said he liked Buck's campground and noticed from visits to an adjacent diner that the people seem happy there.
"Those campgrounds have been down there a long time," said Supervisor Andy Dooley. "We ought to do what we can to help them."
Bedford has lost about 500 campsites during the past five years to development, Buck said. He and another Huddleston campground owner who operates partially during the year are the last two campgrounds left, he said.
"It's public access to the lake that the little guy just doesn't have anymore."