Plans for Walton-themed lodging in Schuyler are now set to go to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors after the county planning commission recommended approval of rezoning and special use permit requests for the construction of a bed-and-breakfast.
The planning commission voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend approval to the board of supervisors for a rezoning request from business to residential and a special use permit request from Carole Johnson, owner of the Walton Hamner House and the Walton’s Mountain Museum.
Johnson hopes to construct a replica of the Waltons’ home from the Hollywood set of the TV series “The Waltons” to run as a bed-and-breakfast for people coming to Schuyler for Walton events.
“The request is generally consistent with the comprehensive plan and could be considered an expansion of the existing use of the Walton Mountain Museum,” Sandy Shackelford, director of planning and zoning, told the planning commission.
Johnson said the bed-and-breakfast, set to be constructed at 6483 Rockfish River Road across from the museum, would consist of five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Johnson said two people will live in the bed-and-breakfast full time.
In a narrative written by Johnson and included in the request packet provided to the planning commission, Johnson stated the bed-and-breakfast will feature replica furnishings from the show and will be called “John and Olivia’s, a five bedroom bed-and-breakfast inn and gift shop.”
“All I’m doing is trying to continue on Earl Hamner’s legacy. We all watched ‘The Waltons’ and it has made us happy for 47 years,” Johnson told the planning commission on Wednesday.
The bed-and-breakfast is a new proposal from Johnson. It is not part of two now-defunct projects announced in 2018 to create Earl’s Meadow Property Development and a replica of the two-story home made famous in “The Waltons” across from the Hamner family house.
“The Waltons” was a television show created by Earl Hamner Jr. based on his book Spencer’s Mountain, a semi-autobiographical novel set in a fictionalized version of Schuyler.
Later, the TV series “The Waltons” was produced about the life of a Depression-era family in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The show is seen from the point of view of eldest son John Boy, who eventually goes to college, serves in World War II and becomes a novelist. The nine-season show ran from 1972 through 1981.
Concerns about the proposed bed-and-breakfast brought to Johnson and the planning commission by a neighbor included worries about the potential for additional noise or lighting.
The planning commission recommended conditions for the special use permit that include no amplified music and limitations on outdoor lighting. Another condition requires the bed-and-breakfast to conform to the submitted site plan. Johnson had no problem with any of the conditions.
The rezoning and special use permit requests are going to the board of supervisors on Feb. 12 for consideration before next steps can be taken.