Virginia Planners Say 'OK' for Primitive Campground

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August 18, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Despite an outcry from several adjoining property owners, a Bedford County, Va., woman's vision for an environmental-friendly and "primitive" campground is a step closer to reality.

The Bedford County Planning Commission voted 4-1 Monday (Aug. 17) to recommend approval of Camp Karma, which consists of 41 acres on Stone Mountain Road, off of Virginia 122. The land, located  southeast of Roanoke, is zoned Agricultural Rural Preserve, which requires a special use permit from county officials to operate a campground, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance.

Linda S. Frisbee, the property owner proposing the operation, said it has been a decade in the making. She said she moved to Bedford County for its beauty and believes there is a high demand and need for camping facilities that give people alternatives to condos and rental properties.

Mark Jordan of the county's department of community development said the project would be developed in two phases. The first phase would include 37 campsites for tents and small campers, while the second would include 11 tent campsites and eight sites for large motorhomes.

"We just want a nice place for people to come to enjoy the area," Frisbee said Monday to commission members. "It's a beautiful piece of property and we plan on keeping it that way."

Just more half a dozen people spoke during a public hearing, most of them in opposition to the plan based on their concerns for public safety, trespassing and motor vehicle traffic. One resident said she felt it would take away from the quiet nature of the area.

Matthew Morando, a nearby resident who lives on Stone Mountain Road, called it "as country as you can get." He said during the hearing it is basically a one-lane road that presents concerns regarding increased traffic.

"My concern is the safety of the people around," Morando said. "You could possibly get a real bad accident."

Traci Niederriter, a county resident from another district who said she is familiar with the property, said she felt the project is a good use of open space.

"We need economic development in Bedford County and this is one way to bring it in," said Niederriter.

The proposed access road into the campground area would be upgraded to accommodate two-way traffic and would contain an "all weather gravel surface," according to a report Jordan made to commission members.

The first phase would include a commercial well and five outhouses, and the second phase would include four individual bathrooms with a shower, flush toilet and sink.

Lynn Barnes, the commission member who represents the district, said he was familiar with the area and could understand the concerns of neighbors. However, he said he felt it was a "very unintrusive use of the property" with adequate governing rules that he said could serve a part of the county near Smith Mountain Lake that needs more options related to camping.

The commission's recommendation for approval will soon reach the Board of Supervisors, which will render a decision after holding its own public hearing. The commission approval came with 11 conditions, including prohibiting a loud speaker system as a means of communication with campground guests as well as guidelines for lighting.

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