The Henry County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) last Wednesday unanimously approved two special use permits, one to allow for the creation of a campground in the Ridgeway District and a wedding and events venue in the Iriswood District.
Sarah Evans and Danyse Pirrung submitted a request for a special use permit to allow for the establishment of a campground facility to accommodate up to 10 sites per acre. The property, located at 87 Frith Drive in the Ridgeway District, is approximately 5-acres and is zoned Agricultural District A-1.
According to a letter submitted by the applicants, the property was previously the site of Martinsville Thermal, LLC, but the industrial structure has been cleared and soil sample testing has been completed.
Lee Clark, director of Planning, Zoning, and Inspections, told the board that the property was located in the Ridgeway Growth Area as defined by the Henry County Comprehensive Plan, is served by public water and public sewer, and fronts on a state-maintained road. He said staff considered the requested use to be consistent with the comprehensive plan.
“I’ve walked over the property,” Clark told the board. “In my opinion, it’s a good location for what it is that they want to do. The property is isolated. It sits well below the road. There are no residences near the property. (U.S.) 220 is on the other side, well above the property and is treed, so basically, you’ve got a bowl where this would be located. I don’t see where it would have any negative impact on any adjoining property owners. On three sides, it’s isolated and the fourth side is the (Smith) river itself.”
Evans told the board that she and Pirrung plan to have 17 or 18 sites in the campground, as only about 2.5-acres of the land is usable.
According to the applicants’ letter, the campground and RV park will be managed as a nonprofit entity, also serving as a “retreat for mental health and therapy promoting practices such as yoga for rejuvenation.”
The letter states that the camp “may be used by the general public only as a means to raise funds for its primary function as a nonprofit organization.”
Evans said that she and Pirrung currently operate several campers they rent via Air BnB and also have a mobile event center. They plan to move both the campers and the event center to the property. She added that the grounds will be monitored 24/7 by on-site groundskeepers
The request was unanimously approved with the addition of two conditions suggested by Clark. The first was that the campground must meet the state code and Virginia Department of Health guidelines for operating a campground. Secondly, the operators must construct a fence or barricade to prevent public access to the utility infrastructure bridge located on the property boundary. The fence must contain a lockable gate to allow PSA to access the site and no trespassing signs must be placed at the area.
Kirk Cotter, doing business as Slainte Ranch, requested a special use permit to allow for the operation of a wedding venue and event center at 1215 Collins Road in the Iriswood District. The property is zoned Agricultural District A-1.
Cotter’s request was approved with the condition that he not allow cars to park along the state road, thereby interfering with local traffic.