Imagine buying property in a rural residential neighborhood, only to find out that now hundreds of tourists could be dumped off practically in your front yards and your roads - which were not designed for this type of traffic - could be clogged with vans and trailers hauling canoes and rafts. Imagine knowing that a campground or food truck could be set up in the neighborhood, with hundreds of strangers camping out. Imagine all the trash that would be generated, and the vermin it would attract - not to mention the vision of porta-potties as permanent fixtures in the neighborhood. Your privacy would be severely impacted, your quality of life would be ruined, crime would increase, your property values would decrease (as if the recession hasn't hurt them enough) and the reasons you chose your communities would no longer exist.
It could happen, and it's up to all of us to stop it. The Jefferson County Commissioners are getting pressure from the river outfitters to allow commercial recreational use in rural residential areas and have been holding public meetings to discuss this issue. It's also possible that floating zoning could be implemented, which means you won't know what could or couldn't happen next door, and your protections under the Conditional Use Permit process would be reduced. Tourism dollars are important to the county and we want people to enjoy our beautiful natural resources - but not at the expense of our quality of life. Stand up for your neighborhoods so that these businesses operate in places that actually make sense.
This measure would go against the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan, which clearly calls for a study of the Pack Horse Ford area - which has not been done. Also, there are already a large number of public put-ins available to the Potomac and if additional put-ins are developed, they should be in appropriate areas - which rural residential neighborhoods clearly are not.
We rely on our elected officials to represent the interests of the community as a whole and to keep Jefferson County a great place to live. Please contact our County Commissioners and voice your concerns, and attend the next Planning Commission meeting.