Planners OK Castleton’s year-round events

The Rappahannock County Planning Commission recommended approval last Wednesday night (March 18) of two event-related permits for the Castleton Festival.

The first was a new special-exception permit that would allow Castleton to host up to 12 weekend events at its 650-seat Festival Theatre throughout the year. Characterized by Castleton Festival board member Hugh H. Smith as a part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to raise funds year-round to support its annual July-August classical music and opera festival and educational programs, the permit was unanimously approved by the commission, with several conditions:

As suggested by Stonewall-Hawthorne planner Gary Light, the permit’s request for “weekend events” was changed to “one-day events. Also, the events can only take place inside the Festival Theatre (also known as the Festival Tent) and must end by 11 p.m., and a two-year review period was attached.

The permit goes to the board of supervisors for final approval at their April 6 meeting.

The other permit approved, after a brief discussion of traffic and safety implications, was the scheduled two-year review of Castleton’s 2012 permit to increase seating at the Festival Theatre from 400 to 650. County Administrator John McCarthy said the sheriff’s office had reported no unusual traffic-related problems in the last two years during the summer festival, nor had his office received any complaints or comments about the permit renewal.

After agreeing to board of zoning appeals member David Konick’s suggestion that signage be placed to avoid sending out-of-town visitors down the narrow and unpaved Whorton Hollow Road, the board unanimously approved the renewal and eliminated the necessity of further reviews. The final approval also goes before the supervisors April 6.

The commission unanimously approved a cottage-industry special-use permit that would allow Flint Hill resident Bonnie Ellis to increase production in her home (by hiring a helper) of food, primarily veggie burgers, which she sells online and distributes exclusively at nearby farmers’ markets.

McCarthy noted that Ellis’ home facility had been passed the county health department’s septic and water tests and was licensed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The permit was to go before the BZA at its meeting last night (Wednesday, March 25).

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 540 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.