*Update: The July 1 public hearing has been postponed after we discovered an error in Madison County’s public notice process – a public notice was required to properly inform Orange County government of the Special Use Permit (SUP) that would adjoin the Rapidan River and Orange County. PEC uncovered the lack of public notice after alerting the Orange County Administration, Planning Department, and County Attorney about the SUP that would adjoin the Rapidan River and Orange County — Orange County was unaware of the Special Use Permit and had not received public notice. We alerted Madison County of this error, and they quickly agreed to postpone the public hearing.
We are unaware of a reschedule date, but will keep you posted once determined by the county.
View and download the larger pdf version of the map.
PEC would like to bring your attention to the newly submitted Special Use Permit for a 749+ acre rural resort, proposed by Crystallis LLC. Crescere Rural Resort would be located on Route 231 and the Rapidan River in Madison County, just northwest of Montpelier.
This resort could have major impacts on the local road systems and rural character of the county. The applicant proposes nearly 60,000-square feet of buildings, including a welcome center and restaurant; an event center; numerous “glamping” and lodging areas; a spa; and other additional support buildings (dam bar, farm center, open air pavilion).
We have concerns about the scale and design of this large event venue, but are even more concerned with the abbreviated application process and lack of time for public input.
- The application was first submitted to the county on May 15.
- The first and only public meeting was held on June 17.
- The joint public hearing between the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors is scheduled for July 1 at 7:00 pm.
If the Board approves the permit, that will only have been 45 days since the proposed resort application was filed.
Tell the Board to Reschedule their Public Hearing
Tell the Board of Supervisors to reschedule their portion of the public hearing until their July 28 meeting (at the earliest). If the public hearing cannot be rescheduled, the Special Use Permit should be denied in its current form due to the various concerns listed/described below.
Send an email with your concerns to:
- The Board of Supervisors: https://www.madisonco.virginia.gov/bos
- The Planning Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Unfortunately, Madison County is not offering a way for residents to participate in their public hearings online.
Crescere Rural Resort is the first rural resort application the county has received since creating the ordinance in December 2019 and soon thereafter amending the ordinance in March 2020.
- The Special Use Permit would include 40 lodging facilities for up to 100 overnight guests — a capacity that you would expect from a hotel.
- Additional accommodations would include 60,000 square feet of structures, including a spa, welcome center, restaurant, event center, bar, outdoor recreation, and an outdoor music venue.
- The event center is proposed to have an occupancy of 300 people.
- Weddings and other large scale events are proposed to have an occupancy of 500 people.
- More than 6 acres of pavement is proposed to accommodate parking lots and driveways.
View and download the PDF version of this map.
Unanswered Questions About the Impact of this Proposal
Not enough time has been given to the Planning Department and public to fully understand and document all of the details associated with a Special Use Permit of this size.
Here are some of our biggest concerns:
- Environmental: The SUP would adjoin the Rapidan River, which serves as the potable drinking water source for multiple localities downstream, including the Town of Orange. The 50 glamping cabins proposed would accommodate up to 100 overnight guests, quantities otherwise expected in hotel operations. As such, site specific conditions could create large septic drain field impacts with the potential for environmental impacts on the Rapidan River.
- Noise: Madison County does not currently have a codified noise ordinance. PEC raises the importance of establishing quiet hours in the SUP, in order for the county to ensure the peaceful nature of the community remains intact. Quiet hours would be enforceable by the police department, and would not require noise level testing equipment.
- Traffic: PEC raises the importance of fully understanding the average trips per day increase associated with this SUP, as well as the peak trips per day during larger events (e.g., public music events).
Other important details to analyze include:
- Maximum Occupancy
- Maximum Event Occupancy
- # Annual Public and Private Events Allowed
- Appropriate Lighting to Avoid Night Sky Glow
PEC understands the importance of tourism, especially the economic benefits it brings to Madison County. At the same time, PEC raises the importance of protections to mitigate environmental, noise, and traffic impacts.
The citizens of Madison County deserve to have their resources protected. Similarly, without the protection of the county’s natural resources, beauty, and quiet atmosphere, tourists would not view the county as a destination worth visiting. This SUP should not negatively impact the public health, safety, or welfare nor the county’s natural resources. The SUP should not be approved as currently submitted.
In order to address these potential impacts, the SUP should be updated to include the staff recommendations provided in the Special Use Permit – Crescere Agri-Resort: Project Overview, Ordinance Requirements & Project Consideration letter submitted to the applicant on June 3, 2020 [included in pages 17-20 of the Public Hearing agenda packet]
PEC has requested that the BOS reschedule their portion of the public hearing until July 28 (at the earliest). Based on current information, we also request that the application be denied.
Please reach out to the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission to weigh in.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Culpeper, Madison & Orange counties
The Piedmont Environmental Council