Albemarle Planners Hear Castle Hill Special Use Permit Request - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Planners Hear Castle Hill Special Use Permit Request

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An area cider farm wants to hold a series of large events every year; however, some of the events would have music that neighbors say is much too loud.

Castle Hill Cider management appeared in front of the Albemarle County Planning Commission Tuesday night to request a special use permit. Noise and traffic concerns dominated the conversation, but Tuesday night compromise was reached.

There were mixed views from the public, some in favor, and some against Castle Hill Cider getting a special use permit. For many who live near the Keswick establishment, they weren't convinced more people wouldn't mean more noise and traffic congestion from Route 20 to Turkey Sag Road.

John Henry Jordan, who lives across from Castle Hill, said, "Keswick is a special place, although at 10:00 on Saturday night on my front porch, it is not as special as it used to be. I can't sit out there and listen to the noise from Castle Hill and another winery anymore."

Billy Proffit, who supports the special use permit, told the commission, "The people going there, they don't all go at one time. They don't all leave at one time. It's not like everybody's going one car, one person, one car, one person, one car, one person, it's not that way. Four or five people to a car sometimes they have a bus load of people. I don't see where they have excessive traffic over there."

Castle Hill management was asking the planning commission to grant approval for 16 events per year. Fifteen events for 201 - 500 people, and one event for 501 - 3,000 attendees, which in this case would be a "cider festival."

Calvin Morris, an Albemarle County planning commissioner, said, "I kind of like the idea of a cider fest. Three thousand doesn't bother me. For one time a year, but [what] I would like to see is that we cap it at one or two years then revisit it."

Members approved having the single event and recommended that 2013 and 2014 be used to measure the impact of an event of that scale.

However, this is a recommendation; the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will take up the issue at this point. Castle Hill could still try to push for the permit as it was initially proposed.

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