Alcohol-Free Equestrian Resort Planned
A property owner in Bland County, Va., is seeking to build a new campground to provide access to the nearby Jefferson National Forest for horseback riders and hikers, according to Southwest Virginia Today, Richlands, Va.
Troy Phillips presented his business plan to the Bland County Planning Commission during its meeting Monday (Oct. 1) in Bastian, Va.
Phillips owns 72 acres about 50 miles west of Roanoke. His property adjoins the national forest, allowing potential campers direct access to a wooded area for outdoor recreational activities.
After the meeting, Phillips said his initial goal is to have the campground ready in 2009, and his current plan is to charge visitors $20 to $25 per night. The fee would include water and electrical hook-ups; access to the national forest would be at no additional cost.
Phillips is formally seeking a permit to operate a commercial stable on his property, which is located in an Agricultural Zoning District.
“I’ve never tried anything like this before,” he said. “My wife and I thought it in the best interest of the county to make that a campground.”
A key aspect to Phillips’ business plan is that the facility would be alcohol free. He said he hopes banning alcohol would make the campground more attractive to families.
“We don’t feel that alcohol and horses would mix very well,” he said. “We want to try to bring the folks in that are going to bring in families.”
Phillips would initially provide 20 campsites on the grounds, with each equipped with water, electricity and an outdoor stable to tether horses.
He also hopes to provide a central “massive barn with a loft,” which would provide 22 stalls for people who prefer to put their horse in a roofed shelter. The barn could also be used for local residents to house their horses during the off-season.
The individual campsites would have parking space for RVs or horse trailers. Phillips also added that he would build at least one bathhouse with hot and cold water.
Per state law, four-wheelers would not be allowed on the trails in the national forest.
Phillips plans to use some of the old logging trails as horse trails and also to cut some new paths. “There are going to be marked trails,” he said.
Issues raised by the Planning Commission members included maintenance of the road leading to the property and security at the site; however, no members voiced adamant opposition to the plan.
Phillips estimated that he will need to invest about $100,000 to get the business started, although construction of the central barn could cause that figure to increase. About 10% of the initial investment would go toward advertisement of the new campground.
A public hearing will be held Nov. 7 before the Planning Commission issues a recommendation on the permit to the Board of Supervisors.