Albemarle Zoning: Off-Road Activities Violate County Ordinance

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The Albemarle zoning office says a group that organizes off-road events in Crozet is violating county ordinance. 

The parties involved have been served with a notice after a lengthy investigation.           

County officials say the Rock Crawlers for Preservation of Future Access (RCPFA) group has been advertising and hosting activities on a piece of Crozet property - and it's against zoning regulations.

The RCPFA has held open wheeling events in Crozet for years, but now the group's activities on property along Bearwood Road are under a magnifying glass.

"We received a complaint from a citizen that there was activity occurring on Bearwood Road that was in the citizen's view in violation of the zoning regulations and potentially also their conservation easement," said zoning administrator Amelia McCulley. 

Albemarle County zoning officials met with the landowner and the RCPFA's local event organizer last week. After investigating the property, they concluded the club was hosting events on the site that were not a permitted use by right. 

"The activity goes beyond friends and family and word of mouth interests. There is a club that involves some type of membership that is even being advertised out of state.  So it goes from somebody's private use of their property to something that is regulated by zoning," McCulley said. 

Zoning officials say that the group must get a proper permit to continue activities in the future. 

"If they wanted to do everything that they have been doing, they could apply for a special-use permit and that is something that we review and goes through various criteria that considers the impact on the roads, the impact on the neighbors, the impact on the character of the area," McCulley said. 

Calls made Friday to the property owner and group organizer were not returned.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is still investigating the conservation easement portion of the case. The foundation gave the following statement to NBC29:

"VOF first learned about the recreational activity on the easement property from the Albemarle County Attorney's Office on February 28. We immediately began an investigation and review for potential violations of the easement, including a visit to the property. We are now in our standard evaluation process to determine whether a violation of easement terms has occurred. Because VOF co-holds this easement with the Albemarle County Public Recreation Facilities Authority, we will coordinate with the Authority before a final determination. It is our understanding that the RPFA Board will address this matter in a meeting assembled on April 11. Once final determinations have been made by the easement holders, they will become public record."