Public hearing set for proposed large events permit

Published 11:32 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Lunenburg County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Lunenburg Courts Building for public input on an ordinance creating an events permit.

Under the proposal, permits would be required for large events held in the county’s A-1 (agricultural) district expected to attract more than 100 people at a time. The proposed ordinance lists the following types of events: carnivals, circuses, festivals, fairs, dog or horse shows, outdoor retail sales events, fireworks shows, tent revivals or similar meetings or overnight camping.

Permits would be issued for no more than 14 consecutive days in any six-month period.

Lunenburg County Economic and Community Development Director Beverly P. Hawthorne said the A-1 district comprises 99 percent of the county’s land outside the towns of Kenbridge and Victoria.

“I think we have less than 10 parcels designated something other than A-1 in the county,” Hawthorne said in an email.

The proposed ordinance states none of the listed activities can be closer than 300 feet to a residential use unless the owner grants permission. There must also be adequate off-street/off-road parking, safe entrance and exit, garbage disposal, food and sanitary facilities and security and emergency services “as appropriate and approved by the (county) zoning administrator.”

Such events would be limited to between 7-1 a.m.

Exceptions would be made for “special events” such as free events taking place on private property, those expected to attract fewer than 100 people, events sponsored in whole or in part by the county or commonwealth or organized special events at locations designed for such uses; special events, parades or marches on state maintained highways; church-events conducted on church property; and gatherings where non-profit organizations are selling or delivering of food items, but do not include any of the entertainment activities listed as requiring an event permit.

Permit applications could be submitted up to a full year prior to the event. The latest they would have to be submitted is 70 days prior to events planned for between 100-500 attendees or 120 days before events planned for more than 500 people. There would be a $100 review fee for any event, regardless of size.

Hawthorne said the planning commission has been working on the proposal for three years. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available prior to Wednesday’s hearing at the county’s administration office.

Wednesday’s meeting will also include discussions on the proposed Kunath Conservation Easement and county’s comprehensive plan.

“The conservation easement is a type of tax incentive land-use designation,” Hawthorne said.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation lists 20 existing easements in Lunenburg County totaling nearly 6,000 acres of land.

As for the county’s comprehensive plan, Hawthorne said that discussion will not, technically, be in conjunction with the easement.

“The comprehensive plan for the county needs to be revised,” she said. “It will be an update for the planning commission regarding the board’s decision to move forward with the new comprehensive plan.”