The Nelson County Planning Commission recommended approval of an extended-stay campsite at Devils Backbone Brewing Company last week.

On Dec. 18, the Nelson County Planning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend approval of a special use permit application from Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland to allow 47 wet RV sites — meaning they have a water and sewer hookup — and 10 future cabins to be extended-stay campgrounds. Travelers would be able to stay for up to 180 days.

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

The campsite is located at 30 Three Ridges Lane in Roseland. Previously, campers at any campsite in the county were only allowed to stay for up to 30 days and there was no option for businesses to extend the time limit. The county recently added in extended stays for up to 180 days by special use permit in agriculturally zoned areas.

Philippa Proulx, North District representative, and Michael Harman, West District representative, voted against the motion. Proulx voiced her concern that 47 RV sites and possibly 10 cabins with people staying in them for up to six months at a time would upset neighbors.

“Fifty-seven places with six-month stays, that’s a trailer park. That’s not a campground. We have to look at the worst case, not what someone thinks is likely. I would be ok with half as extended-stay options, not the whole thing,” Proulx said.

Other concerns brought up by commissioners included workers, such as crews for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, renting all the wet sites for as long as possible. Chuck Amante, East District representative, said he doesn’t think it’s up to the commissioners to decide what is a good plan for any business and what isn’t. Amante said if they want 47 sites to be open to the same individuals for six months, that’s their prerogative.

“I can’t make the business decision for them. I may have an opinion; it would be a bad decision to have an RV campground full of ruffians, but I don’t know,” Amante said.

Mark Stapleton, Central District representative, voted in favor of recommending approval, but did voice concern over who would monitor each temporary resident to make sure they didn’t overstay their 180-day welcome. Proulx said that concern is true for every ordinance in the county. No one spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Devils Backbone is the first to take advantage of the new special use permit for its campsite. Heidi Crandall, co-founder of Devils Backbone Brewing Company, said although they have the most business at their campsite and other areas of their brewery over the weekends, this extended stay possibility will give them the option to increase revenue.

“You can’t predict the future right? We don’t know if we’ll get one person. We may. We already have done the research. There are those RVers that live in mobile homes with no permanent residency. We also have the day traveler,” Crandall said. “From the business standpoint we want to have the flexibility in being able to offer RV slips and the 10 cabins built for that visitor, whichever it may be.”

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

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