Devils Backbone Brewing Company

In this April 2018 file photo, people walk by Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s distillery and lounge.

After getting the green light from the Nelson County Planning Commission last week, Devils Backbone Brewing Company will now have to present its request to upgrade recreational vehicle campsites to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors this month.

On Aug. 28, the Nelson County Planning Commission voted 5 to 1 to recommend approval of turning 25 dry campsites to wet campsites at 30 Three Ridges Lane in Roseland. Philippa Proulx, North District representative, voted against the motion.

This special use permit amendment request, if approved by the Nelson County Board of Supervisors, will allow Devils Backbone to provide hook-ups for water, sewer, and electrical for RVs at 25 sites that previously did not have that option. Devils Backbone has 25 dry sites and 25 wet sites for RVs as part of the original special use permit agreement.

When presenting to the planning commission, Antonio Jorge and Steve Crandall, Devils Backbone representatives, made it clear although the application addressed 25 of the currently dry sites, they would only be changing 23 of those.

“We have the permit in place already, the [special use permit], we just want to do an improvement on the property if you will,” Jorge said.

Mark Stapleton, Central District representative, questioned the logistics of additional sewer and water capabilities and how that will affect water management in the area.

“Some of the residents in the area have expressed concern about water and water management and the impact of adding would be equivalent of 25 one bedroom apartments to your septic field,” Stapleton said.

Crandall argued he hasn’t heard any complaints from neighbors about increasing water levels in the area and they are complying with all rules and regulations of the health department as well as other state agencies.

“We have actually designed the sewage treatment system and the water plant not only to accommodate RV sites, but we’re also approved for a 25-room lodge with two floors, nine cabins, and a 250-person event space,” Crandall said. “We have additional capacity built into the system as it exists so that’s why we have room to deal with this additional waste.”

Mary Kathryn Allen, chair of the planning commission and South District representative, said she was struggling with the idea of amending a special use permit. Allen said when any individual or group applies for a special use permit, they are always asked if they can think of anything they may want to change later so amendments don’t have to be made later. Allen said it is difficult to amend a special use permit because the permit itself is already going against some wishes of residents for the good of what the government believes is the county.

“I guess that’s my hold up. We shouldn’t be handing out SUPs like candy anyway so I have a hard time amending an SUP,” Allen said.

During the public comments portion of the public hearing, Eleanor Amidon, an Afton resident, said two years ago she suggested something about RV parks being added into the zoning ordinance, but since then nothing has been done. Amidon said she’s worried if RV parks aren’t addressed in the zoning ordinance, regulations won’t be fair across the board for people that may want to open an RV park on their property.

“Two years ago when [Devils Backbone] requested the SUP for their camping, there was a lot of discussion and it seems to me they weren’t going to ask for any changes and now here they are asking for changes,” Amidon said.

Amidon expressed concern over the possibility of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline benefiting from the RV campsite, should they be changed to wet sites. When asked by Proulx why they are now changing the layout of the 50 campsites, Crandall said they didn’t originally have the funding for 50 wet sites, but now as the business has grown over the past 2 years, they have the funding.

“Building a business takes time. To get the word out takes time,” Crandall said. “We think the RV sites will also improve as the word gets out.”

After almost an hour of discussion and public comments, including comments from Crandall and Jorge that the extra wet sites will increase income for the county as a whole, Charles Amante, East District representative, made a motion to recommend approval to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors.

The Nelson County Board of Supervisors will hear the request at its meeting Sept. 10.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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