Clarke County and Berryville elected officials say that they really do want to work with the Barns of Rose Hill. However, a lack of responsiveness from the Barns appears to be beginning to put a damper on just how much farther both governments may be willing to go.
At last week’s Joint Government Center (JGC) building committee meeting there was a sense of growing frustration among the building committee members – which includes elected officials Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh) and Councilman Allen Kitselman (Ward Two) – toward the Barns of Rose Hill.
At the committee’s March 7th meeting, Councilman Kitselman reported that the Barns of Rose Hill was considering a Valley Earth Fest concert and planned to request use the JGC’s “Concessionary Road,” an area set aside for vendors during public events, and the amphitheatre as part of the April 22nd event.
Kitselman asked that the Joint Government Center’s “Facility and Grounds Use Policy” as well as the “Scheduling Request” form be sent to the Barns of Rose Hill’s staff.
With the Earth Fest event now just a few weeks away, the JGC committee had not received any formal contact from the Barns of Rose Hill as of its April 4th meeting prompting Kitselman to plan a personal visit to the Barns to inquire about plans, if any, for the Earth Fest event.
Other JGC members seemed to share Kitselman’s concern and the conversation soon extended to other areas of the relationship including an agreement to waive certain fees once the Barns obtains special status as a quasi-governmental JGC user.
So far, the Barns of Rose Hill Board of Directors apparently have not taken the steps necessary to achieve the special user status.
Under an approach that was informally agreed to by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, the Berryville Town Council and the Barns of Rose Hill, the Barns of Rose Hill directors agreed to formally appoint a County Supervisor and a Town Councilman to its Board of Directors. By making the two formal appointments, the County and the Town agreed, in turn, to provide the Barns with the special JGC user status and allow the Barns to avoid many, if not all, of the standard charges and operating requirements associated with use of the Joint Government Center and its grounds.
Kitselman said that the JGC rules require groups to provide a certificate of insurance, an event plan and to file a JGC use application – along with a $200 application fee – prior to receiving approval to use the JGC and its grounds.
But so far, the needed action has not been taken by the Barns on the agreed appointments leaving the County and Town with little choice but to enforce rules that, in part, require a $200 application fee for JGC use.
Kitselman also expressed frustration about charges for recent use of the Barns’s meeting rooms by government groups. Kitselman noted that the JGC had not been charging the Barns for use of lighting and parking facilities during Barns events.
“Why would they charge us for using the rooms when both of our governments supplied funds to build the Barns?” Kitselman asked. “Now they want to use the concession area and the amphitheatre. We asked them to file for a permit, but it hasn’t happened.”
“We just need the Barns of Rose Hill to take a pretty simple step here to solve the problem,” said Clarke County Administrator David Ash, also a member of the Joint Government Center building committee.
Supervisor David Weiss appeared in agreement that action by the Barns in appointing Town and County officials to its Board of Directors so that application fees could be waived was overdue.
“Let’s have another conversation with them and see what they want to do,” said Weiss. “Until then I think that they need to pay the $200 application fee for Earth Fest.”
“It’s a tad frustrating to keep trying to help them when things have gotten to this point,” said Kitselman.
“I certainly understand that they’re still transition but they need to get this figured out,” Weiss said
An email to the Barns of Rose Hill requesting clarification of its position regarding Earth Fest and appointment of local government officials to the Barns of Rose Hill board of Directors was not immediately answered.
Attempts to reach the Barns of Rose Hill by phone were also unsuccessful. The Barns of Rose Hill telephone number, 540-955-2004, was disconnected as of CDN’s Tuesday afternoon publication.