The Planning Commission approves Field Camp owner Todd Barnett's plans for the Blue Ridge Swim Club. Although the plan has wide support, some residents aren't happy.
Field Camp founder Todd Barnett is one step closer to
buying the historic Blue Ridge Swim Club after the Albemarle
County Planning Commission recommended approval of a special use
permit February 22. While commissioners cited dozens of letters
from Swim Club neighbors supportive of Barnett's plan, other
neighbors say they're willing to fight to keep the camp out of the
"It is not an acceptable use of the property," says Frazier
Bell, a 33-year neighbor to the Blue Ridge Swim Club– a 13-acre
parcel featuring a unique, century old, hundred-yard-long
Bell says he objects to the potential noise and traffic he
believes the Camp will bring and, in particular, by its founder's
plan to construct a 2,000 square-foot outdoor pavilion.
"Twice as long as most houses," Bell says an email following the
hearing. "And, it will mean clearing a large area for the structure
and around it. They plan on campfires. No one addressed the
possibility of fire safety."
Bell is not alone in opposition. At least five other Owensville
Road-area residents, including Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge
Cheryl Higgins, expressed concerns at the recent hearing, most
stressing the potential for increased traffic, trespassing, and
noise from the estimated 60 campers who attend Field Camp at any
one time during the summer months.