Agri-tourism resort gives update on Scottsville property

By Heather Michon

Representatives from Michigan-based Sun Outdoors held a community meeting on Thursday night (June 29) at Water’s Edge at Mount Ida Reserve on Rolling Road South near Scottsville to update residents on their plans to develop a large agri-tourism resort on a 750-acre farm spanning the Fluvanna and Albemarle county line.

The property is currently known as Reventon Farm, but Sun Outdoors Senior Vice President Bill Raffoul told the audience that they were tentatively calling the project “Briery Creek Farm,” a name he felt was “more reflective of the location and character.”

Addressing a major concern from a previous community meeting in late March, he added: “I’m happy to report that we are still not building an RV resort.”

What they are planning to build is a multi-million dollar resort with 250 guest cabins, offering guests opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, water sports, and an “authentic farm experience,” geared towards attracting urban dwellers who may have lost touch with the natural world.

For this vision to come to fruition, the company will have to win multiple special use permits from the Planning Commissions and Board of Supervisors in both Fluvanna and Albemarle counties.

Fluvanna’s Director of Community Planning Douglas Miles and his Albemarle counterpart William Fritz gave brief presentations on how the planning process works in each county. The company is at the very beginning of that lengthy process, and any action on its permits is likely still some months away. 

Raffoul said the project would create both temporary construction jobs and around 100 permanent staff jobs, with an estimated economic impact of $30 million a year “in addition to tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.”

He said that a major goal of the project was preserving the property’s rural character and keeping it whole. “The other options for properties like this are, as you guys know, subdivisions.”

During the March meeting, the audience pelted Raffoul and his associates with questions for an hour. This meeting was far more sedate. 

But one woman stood up at the end of the presentation and asked him if Sun Outdoors was prepared to buy their properties across the street from the farm entrance.

“I assume that’s a rhetorical question?” he asked.

“No, it wasn’t a rhetorical question,” she replied. “We did not move to this area to look at a large-scale commercial operation. If we wanted to do that, we would have moved closer to the city.” 

He said the company was not going to be making any offers. “Development is inevitable,” he added. “The question is: can it be done responsibly?” All they can offer, he said, is a commitment to do it in the way they felt balanced their needs with that of the surrounding community.

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