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Supervisors eye ordinance to charge entities use of county facilities

Supervisors eye ordinance to charge entities use of county facilities

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Blue Ridge Tunnel 8

The Nelson County Parks and Recreation recently opened the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail system in Afton to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Nelson County officials are considering a recreation ordinance that would give the parks and recreation department authority to charge entities for the use of county-owned facilities.

The board of supervisors reviewed a draft ordinance but ultimately took no action at an April 13 meeting so staff so could amend the ordinance to be brought back for further consideration.

According to County Administrator Steve Carter, prior to the draft ordinance’s creation, the county had received several requests specifically for the use of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton for various purposes, ranging from a filming a music video to requests from local companies for tours.

He said the county currently does not have a means of facilitating such requests.

“The impetus for this is to enable parks and recreation to establish fees for recreational uses of the county by private entities more or less,” Carter told board members. “Or in some cases it would be the department’s own programs.”

These rates, Carter said, would not apply to individuals attempting to use the tunnel or other county-owned facilities.

“The objective is not to charge the public for use of the facilities,” Carter said.

Carter cautioned against authorizing the ordinance as it was presented to the board April 13, stating he recommended amending it so any fees that county staff develops would be brought before the board and approved via resolution. Otherwise the board would need to hold a public hearing every time it wanted to set a new fee.

Carter said during the meeting the tunnel so far has drawn more than 50,000 visitors since its official opening in November. The potential recreation ordinance requires a public hearing before it can be adopted.

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