AGENDA TITLE: Camp Watermarks, SP 2005-34



SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:  The applicant proposes to operate a nature / agriculture camp, four weeks per year for local children on James River Road (TM 136, parcels 6B, 9D, 9D1, and 9E) with the entrance drive located less than ˝ mile west of the intersection of Route 726 and Hatton Ferry Road.  


STAFF: Amy Ransom Arnold









APPLICANT / OWNER: Angela and Travis Critzer and Stuart Tapscott


PROPOSAL: The applicant has requested a Special Use Permit to allow for the establishment of a camp for girls and boys from ages 8 - 18 in an agricultural setting.  The applicant proposes to hold a maximum of four overnight sessions per year at the camp with a maximum enrollment of 36 - 45 children for each session.  The four week sessions would consist of one week during spring planting, two weeks during the summer growing season, and a fourth week for fall harvest.  Camp activities and accommodations are proposed in several areas of the site including nine cabins, a recreation hall/dining facility, basketball and skate boarding areas, a fishing lake, fire pit, and nearby animal paddock.  The applicants have indicated that one of their primary goals is to provide nature and agricultural experiences for children who normally have limited exposure to outdoor and / or agricultural environments.


BACKGROUND:  The applicants had operated the camp for a week during the summer of 2005 utilizing buildings approved only for agricultural use.  Electricity had been installed in the cabins without permits.  The shower room had been in use during the camp session without building, electrical, or plumbing permits.  In addition, the shower room had been operated without Heath Department approval of the septic system.  The violations were abated on September 16, 2005, when the camp showers were disconnected and the applicant agreed to preclude camp activities until the approval of the appropriate permits.



Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this application:

1. Farming will continue as the primary activity on these parcels; the camp is a secondary use.

2. The applicant’s proposal for traffic management on James River Road is sensitive to potential impacts on the neighborhood.    

3. The camp environment is well integrated into the surrounding landscape.

4. The camp has the potential to heighten awareness and understanding of agricultural processes and natural resources.


Staff has identified the following factors unfavorable to this application:

1. Increased traffic on James River Road.

2. Increase in overall activity levels on and around the site.


RECOMMENDATION: Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of Section of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval, based on consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, subject to conditions of approval.


View staff report and attachments

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