Supervisor Calls for Review of Temporary Campsite Regs

After the Board of Supervisors recent scuttling of a river-front park that would have opened two-miles of stream frontage to day-hikers and history buffs, one Clarke County supervisor now wants to take a closer look at regulations covering recreational lots that dot the riverbanks of the County.

Temporary campsites line River Road in Clarke County, Virginia although the area is prone to flooding each winter and spring - Photo Edward Leonard

Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh) told the other Supervisors on Monday that he had received complaints about the way temporary lots along the river were being used.

“Our ordinances don’t resolve the issues to the extent that the complainants would like to see” Weiss said.

At Weiss’s recommendation the board agreed to ask the Planning Commission to review County regulations related to temporary toilets, campers, electrical generators and other equipment on private lots along the Shenandoah River.

Weiss said that some people have set up permanent campers on the lots and live there permanently all summer and fall.

“I’m not sure that was the original intent of our ordinances” Weiss said. “We need to help citizens understand what they can and can’t do.”

Weiss said that it is his understanding that all property should be removed from the temporary campsites from January through April when flood risk is particularly high.

“Portable toilets and other equipment are supposed to be moved at the time of a flood” Weiss said. “Things like that need to be identified in a contract and someone needs to be responsible.”  Weiss also suggested that the County should be notified whether or not camp lots with portable potties are under contract with a service company.

Weiss said that he has heard reports of portable generators being allowed to run all night and suggested that the County consider a “no-use” period each evening to preserve night-time silence.

“I think that our ordinances need some clarification” Weiss said.


  1. K. Reynolds says:

    I understand the whole temporary lot thing but what gives the county the right to come on private (gated) property and tell the owner to move there campers and stuff off their lot,and threat to get the law involved over stuff that had been on the lot for 20 or more years. they def need to get their stuff straight.

    • It’s very simple… regardless of whether there was poor enforcement of County ordinances in the past (which there most certainly has been), if any property owner is in violation of an ordinance the County has every right to require the property owner to live up to their end of the bargain.

  2. I guess it’s a good there there aren’t more pressing issues for the Board toponder, like business’ shuttering and eroding the tax base, expanding internet access for residents, funding of the Sheriffs Office and communication systems etc, etc etc

    • Richie Blick says:

      Oh My! I actually agree with Sarge this time!!!!! 1,000 percent too.

    • Mr Mister says:

      Have you seen the “stuff” stored on these lots along the river? These areas are prone to high water this time of year. I guess local ordinances are only for certain people. I would want to see some of that “stuff” floating along the river. Nothing like having temporary porta-johns in the middle of the river. Oh that’s right, the EPA is only for Democrats. If you don’t like the laws and ordinances have them changed. Other wise they need to be enforced just like any other. Nothing wrong with being good stewards to the earth.

    • Clarke Life says:

      Have to agree with Ole Sarge on this one!

  3. Springs-B says:

    High Speed Internet access would be nice. I live just 1 mile from Berryville and have no internet other than very slow dial up. No cable or DSL is available. I have tried the satellite service but it is very expensive and still very slow. Huesnet was at times worse than dial up…
    I have seen nothing in the papers about the BOS even trying to get high speed internet to anyone in the county (outside of town limits). They worry more about parks that few people would use. MANY people would use high speed internet…. Perhaps 90% of the population would use it every day…. Can’t say that about a Battlefield Park. The BOS seems to concern themselves with the few rather than the many…

    • Naked Truth says:

      You need to move where the food is. I hear there are vacant stores and homes in Berryville. If you want to live away from it all, then you have to do without a few things we have in the town. Either pay for satellite or move. Stop relying on local officials to hand feed you. You had your reasons to live away from town, cable, and internet. Enjoy your view and your space.

      • totally agree! says:

        You summed up just what needed to be said, Naked Truth. We can’t always have everything we want…it sure would be nice if instead of complaining on what they don’t have they took a minute to ponder why they moved here to begin with

      • Al in Gore says:

        Population of Clarke County in 2010- 14,052.
        Population of nearby Hardy County, WV in 2010- 14,025. Main difference? Hardy County, through a $10 million loan and $11 million grant, have embarked on a project to install high speed fiber optic internet throughout the county. If a rural county in WV can do it, why can’t Clarke County do it?

    • Springs-B,
      If you get cell phone reception where you live you should be able to use an aircard / mobile broadband device for internet.

      • A friend of mine uses an aircard up in Wildcat Hollow and it sucks. I really don’t see what the issue is with regard to high speed internet towers. Granted, I don’t want to see one every 50 ft on Rt 50 or 7 or anywhere else, but if some landowner wants to let Verizon or whoever to put a tower on the back forty out of sight, what’s the problem? It’s funny the BOS graciously allowed homeowners to build 80 ft towers for their own private reception, but won’t allow Verizon et al to construct towers

  4. Say What says:

    High speed internet is critical to most families these days and needed for many students. It should be a main priority. Satellite is not high speed.

  5. Say What says:

    Actually the phone signal is different than the wireless internet signal. I can get one or two bar cell signal on say Cather Rd but no wireless internet on my smart phone.

  6. Just an option says:

    Just a thought but Starband has many affordable high speed satellite internet plans that residents around Clarke Co have been using for years as well as Winchester Wireless which I hear from a couple of people seems to solve the problem for them.

  7. Clarke County should only be implementing land ordinances when there is an immediate and clear need based on PUBLIC SAFETY or infringement/endangerment of the property rights of others. Enforcing ordinances regarding placement and use of portable toilet systems is clearly a matter of public safety. However, generator use is simply a nuisance and should be dealt with though landlords, EXISTING rental agreement processes, and EXISTING noise ordinances. In many cases where there is private property involved certain types of use (like generators) are perfectly acceptable, and punishing/restricting many to please a few, or because of a negligent few, is administrative malfeasance at best.

    Through many years of renting and accessing river lots, I’ve mostly encountered courteous neighbors that have taken care in the environment of our river land. The complaints being lodged should be documented and made available to the public so that taxpayers can see the legitimate details of these concerns. I would also like to know what steps the complainants have taken within the existing law enforcement structure to resolve their issues. The last thing we need are draconian, “arbitrary and capricious” ordinances being implemented on behalf of a few to further limit the property rights of landowners and tenants in Clarke County.

  8. Clarke County Annie says:

    The only place I know where people have set up campers and lived “permanently” all summer/fall is Watermelon Park. Their annual rent area down river does not have electric.

    Portable toilet companies require a contract and remove their units when threat of rising water occurs.

    To my knowledge, none of the property owners that rent riverside lots have their property in an
    “easement” so they pay on the tax base like everyone else and most likely utilize rent funds to ease their tax burden. Some east side property owners need to be more explicit on their rules and follow thru with repeated inspections of their renters.

    Don’t really need the county involved in this when they don’t press some of their current regulations like junk vehicles that drip gas, oil, antifreeze and reduce property values of others.