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Rodeo set for second public hearing Tuesday
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Washington County Board of Supervisors

Rodeo set for second public hearing Tuesday

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ABINGDON, Va. — Round two of the Reedy Creek Road rodeo debate gallops into the Washington County Board of Supervisors in Abingdon on Tuesday night.

Get set for a second public hearing — this time in a joint meeting with the Washington County Planning Commission — to see what’s next for the proposed “Rodeo in the Valley” series.

“There would be speakers, yes. It’s hard to say how many,” said Stephen Richardson, the county’s zoning official. “I feel like people will speak for or against.”

Rodeo producer Brad Nelms, 42, plans to have a series of rodeos this spring and summer on land owned by Mike Anderson, pending approval of a special- exception permit.

A Rodeo Committee met Wednesday in Abingdon to discuss the issues.

“It was more of a communications meeting so when the meeting is held, the board is going to be more informed and the Planning Commission will be more informed,” said Richardson, a committee member.

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Supervisor Mike Rush created the Rodeo Committee, saying he was seeking “a compromise” between the concerns of nearby residents and the producers of the rodeo, which has gained local community support as well as sponsorship by Rural King.

Concerns of residents who live near the rodeo site — between the Benhams and Wallace communities — include traffic control, noise, odor, dust and possible negative impacts on nearby property values.

In turn, Richardson said, “The deed restrictions are obviously a big issue.”

Deed stipulations restrict business on the proposed property. But a resolution has been offered that could allow rodeos to operate, Richardson said.

“They are working on that,” he said. “It has not been completely resolved.”

On the last weekend of May, the first “Rodeo in the Valley” was abruptly moved to another site — the Russell County Fairgrounds in Castlewood — because the applicants have not received the proper permits to hold the rodeo.

Prior to that move, Nelms pleaded his case to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Both government bodies turned down his request for a special-exception permit. But those boards each spent three hours on two consecutive nights hearing concerns from several citizens and discussing the rodeo.

Tuesday’s board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Government Center Building near Virginia Highlands Community College, just off Interstate 81’s Exit 14.

jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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