Patience Wearing Thin Between Town, County and Barns of Rose Hill

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.

Pre-renovated 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.

Weiss agreed.

“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.

Comments

  1. I am scratching my head wondering why government groups need to use (the) Barns of Rose Hill for meetings. Isn’t there a Really Big Conference Room on the second floor of the Joint Government Center?

  2. This is a classic case of “My sandbox vs your sandbox”. First impression is – Why should the, yes THE, Barns of Rose Hill be treated like a local wino convention when it comes to fees? Do they not fulfill a basic community need? Geeze.

  3. livinginbville says:

    It seems to me that the “elected officials” are not happy unless they’re involved in some county or town drama.

  4. Susi Bailey says:

    for what it’s worth the Barns of Rose Hill paid 1/3 of the cost to redesign the “ditch” area between the Barns & the Government Center as well as 1/3 of the cost to bring electricity to the “Concessionary Road” so that it could be used for vendors. Valley EarthFest is a community event which should be supported in our efforts for economic development! Hope this issue is resolved amicably for all.

  5. Wendy Clatterbuck says:

    Though my 6 year term as a Barns director ended in December 2011, the Barns board has ALWAYS had reps from county and town government. From the town, Wilson Kirby served as a Barns director until he was elected mayor, then Gail Smith, and after her death Dave Tollett, who is still, to my knowledge, there. And from the county, Barbara Byrd served for 6 years, and I remember her saying that no other supervisor was interested, so she would continue on the Barns board. Assume she still is, too. Not sure why the JGC thinks there’s no rep.

    Why not contact Ben Glenn, the new ED at the Barns, and solve this paperwork problem?

    Cheryl Ash, the voluteer organizer of Valley EarthFest, is an amazingly efficient woman who is working to promote our community with this green festival. I’m sure she would appreciate all the support she can muster. Is this event posted anywhere on gov’t websites, etc?

    And speaking of meeting rooms, while the Barns were under construction, our board met at Enders fire hall — thank you Enders — because we were not permitted to use a room in the Government Center……. personally, that always burned me: here we were working to improve town property and to promote our local resources and there was no room at the inn for a once a month meeting … frankly, this sounds like more of the same.
    Wendy Clatterbuck

  6. Lisa Underwood says:

    Very disappointing to hear that the Government Center is telling The Barns of Rose Hill they should pay additional fees to use concessionary road. I don’t understand the big deal w/the use of that road. We’re talking about the very same facility that much of it’s towns people contributed to. That facility is something the town is very proud of and we should not have to feel like our town Governement is going to make it harder on us to be able to enjoy events that help us come closer together as a community.

  7. chip schutte says:

    As a member of the Board of Barns of Rose Hill, I am flabbergasted by this story. I have been meeting with Keith Dalton, Kristie Dunkle, and Alan Kitselman recently about an event in the Park that we are partnering with the Town of Berryville on this summer-there has been no hint of ill will-in fact, I would say the Barn’s relationship with the Town has been excellent. I spoke to Alan Kitselman last night and read his Facebook comments this morning, and his upset is not with the Barns, but in the way his comments were presented in the story. As to County and Town officials on the Board, we have had two since I’ve been on the board-Dave Tollet and Barbara Byrd, and both have been active, contributing members. Barbara has been on Board since the beginning and I believe if there was any material issues with the County, she would be the first to let us know.

    As to the lack of a by-law formalizing these representatives on the board, hey, I just found out it was a gripe last week, and its on the agenda for the next meeting. As to the charge for the facility for a rental, well, many other contributors and donors have paid for their rentals-including Board members! we would love to be able to “give it away”, but are expected to stand on our own, financially, with no operating aid from Town or County,and our duties include manning the Visitor Center, gratis. We charged the County about $500 to rent the facility for a nice Xmas event they put on. There are costs whenever we host an event-utilities, sound men, etc. Our volunteers work their butts off and we survive on the good will and trust of our audience, who “risk” $10-15 to come see performers we select. So please don’t harm that relationship over $500 and an omitted by-law; you diminish the efforts of our volunteers and potentially harm our name in the community. Cheryl Ash is in charge of the Earth Day celebration, and if there is a more committed, hardworking person, I have yet to meet her. This very week, Cheryl and I were told by a town official that the couple of demonstration tents, the only things to be located outside the building during Earth Day, could be approved administratively, and were even told where to put them.

    And by the way, yes, our phones were down; Verizon has been in there this week solving a problem in our alarm system, which is tied to our phones. Would it have a big problem to phone any board member directly and get a response?-its not like its such a big story that it couldn’t wait a day.

    Look, i read CDN, and am mostly pleased at the even reporting, but in this case, a mountain has been made of a mole hill, on what must have been an otherwise slow news day. The show will go on-we hope the readers of CDN will just ignore this unfortunate story, trust the Board to fix the by-law problem, and continue to come out and support the events at the Barns! Hope to see you on Earth Day.

    • Thanks for the commentary from inside the board of the Barns of Rose Hill Chip. We all hope that the relationship between the County, Town and Barns can remain productive. However the CDNs support of the Barns is clear through the long list of articles and photos they publish as well as their quick advocacy for the Barns during their naming controversy. So when it comes down to who said what in the referenced meeting, I’ll go with the CDN any day thank you very much.

      Let’s just chalk it up as an impertinent outburst by someone prone to them, that found the light of day in our local news outlet.

      • Right Winger says:

        I think it’s a case of the Supervisors and the Council using CDN to try and make themselves look like the good guys.

        Failed.

        • beenthere says:

          You are correct Right Winger, the Supervisors and the Council need all the help they can get to look good. A $200 fee! Why?

          Same old stuff, new and different does not go over well with Clarke County government officials.