Farm Owners in Albemarle Again Request Special Use Permit
The owners of an Albemarle County farm have gone back and forth with the county for three years for the right to hold weddings and other events on their property but their requests have been shot down every time.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The owners of an Albemarle County farm have gone back and forth with the county for three years for the right to hold weddings and other events on their property but their requests have been shot down every time.
Now, more than 900 community members are behind them as they submit another request.
Roslyn Farm has resubmitted its application for a special use permit for the fourth time in three years.
The farm owners feel they are being treated unfairly and are feeling the pressure as application fees keep piling up.
“It's a right we think this property deserves,” says Richard Fox, co-owner of Roslyn Farm.
Fox and Alexia Richards have owned and operated Albemarle County's Roslyn Farm since 2015.
It’s a bona fide agricultural farm that also operates as a bed and breakfast and offers horseback riding lessons just off Hydraulic Road.
Now the owners want to host weddings, corporate retreats, and other events on the property. However, they’re first required to obtain a special use permit.
“We are asking for a special use permit to host events at our farm, up to 24 events a year, under 150 guests,” says Alexia Richards, co-owner of the farm. “We’re asking for equal treatment, not special treatment. There's a lot of farms in this area that have already been granted this use.”
They have been trying to secure the permit since 2015, and have racked up more than $30,000 in fees for plans, applications, and legal counseling.
Diantha McKeel, the county supervisor for Roslyn Farm's district, declined an interview request, but raised concerns at a supervisors meeting in January about traffic and noise levels.
Farm owners say neighbors have echoed those same concerns.
“We have listened to a lot of the neighborhood concerns, which tend to be traffic and noise primarily, so we have plans in our most recent submittal to mitigate those concerns by the use of noise meters, limiting amplified music, utilizing van services and other concierge traffic services,” says Fox.
Now, an online petition with more than 900 backers asks the county board of supervisors to grant the same permit given to Panorama Farm in 2012 to Roslyn Farm.
“Panorama Farm asked for the same amount of events, the same use that we are, and they were granted the approval and the county actually at the time stated that this was a good right and that all agriculture properties, farms, should be open to having these rights,” says Fox.
The Albemarle County Planning Commission confirms it has received the updated application and says that the next step in the process is for the farm owners to meet with the Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee on February 12.
Following this meeting, the owners are expected to meet with the county planning committee.
The final decision on permits like this comes from the county board of supervisors.