At its March 24 meeting, the Nelson County Planning Commission voted in favor of adding 12 more social events per year to the dozen already permitted at Blue Ridge Farm on Rt. 151 in Afton.
The approximately 6-acre property, at the intersection of Rt. 151 and Chapel Hollow Road, is identified as Rural Residential and zoned A-1.
The house was built around 1840 by Colonel Sam Page and is well-documented by the Nelson County Historical Society. The Page house was known as “Greenfield” while owned by the Page family. The family sold the house in 1970 and around 1990 it was restored as a bed and breakfast. It was included in the historic house tours offered to the public in 1998. Records show one of the two out-buildings was called the “Manakin House” for the couple who lived there and worked for the Page family. In more recent years, the cottage was restored to become the Flying Fox Vineyard Tasting room.
The house is no longer a bed and breakfast. It’s now is offered for rent on AirBnB as a “vacation house” for family reunions, retreats, and wedding parties.
Owner Corbin Snow submitted a special use permit request seeking to build a 4,000-square-foot banquet hall but withdrew it when he learned he already had that right. He submitted a second request to be able to add to the number of allowed events, initially asking to raise the yearly total to 38.
Snow and civil engineer Justin Shimp attended the Planning and Zoning hearing to present the drawings and review the plans.
During public comments, Betty Slough of Chapel Hollow Road spoke against the proposal. A retired county building inspector, she expressed concern about the use of water for large events affecting the supply of other residents of Chapel Hollow Road.
Ernie Reed, Central District representative to the Board of Supervisors, is also a member of the planning commission. Reed referred to a March 19 joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning Commission that was called in response to traffic concerns from residents living in A-1 zoning. The idea was to provide an educational session to better understand how businesses in the craft beverage industry are regulated, who is regulating them, and what their roles and responsibilities are.
“The traffic on Route 151 is due to the current density of events which occur all at the same time,” Reed said. “The planning commission cannot further control by-right use but can control allowing use of the SUP to create additional events.”
A motion to approve 12 additional events per year passed 5-1 with only Reed voting against it. The recommendation now goes to the Board of Supervisors for approval.