The Lynchburg Planning Commission unanimously gave its recommendation Tuesday to amend a concept plan to allow the future construction of an event center at Bella Rose Plantation on Graves Mill Road.

Planning commission recommends inclusion event center in concept plan
Reporter: Sherese Gore 
Lynchburg News & Advance 
February 22, 2017



The developers of Bella Rose say they are seeking to keep pace with a growing demand for larger events.

Located on a more than seven-acre parcel at 1220 Graves Mill Road, Bella Rose currently is used as a wedding venue.  An antebellum manor house is located at the property as well as a mill.

Bella Rose was included as part of a concept plan for a conditional use permit for the adjacent Rosedale mixed-use commercial and residential development that was approved by Lynchburg City Council in 2014.

The concept plan currently does not include the proposed event center at Bella Rose, requiring the need to have the plan amended.

According to an architectural rendering included in meeting documents, the new facility would be three stories in height and would share an antique appearance with the existing manor. The new center would have a maximum capacity of 350 people.

No one spoke in favor or against Bella Rose’s petition during a public hearing.

One point of discussion by commissioners concerned a traffic study that was conducted in 2013 for the Rosedale development that projected traffic delays at ramps connecting Graves Mill Road to the Lynchburg Expressway will be exacerbated by growth along the corridor.

City Planner Tom Martin said a 350-seat event center will not generate nearly enough traffic as the traffic of the overall Rosedale development.

“In terms of making those ramps fail, I would highly doubt this event center would be the straw that broke the camel’s back right now,” Martin said.

The proposed amendment to the concept plan will require final approval by Lynchburg City Council, which will consider the amendment at a later date.

Commissioner Cham Light said he’s happy to see Bella Rose has been successful.

“It’s exceeded, I think, everybody’s reasonable expectations as to how nice it has contributed to the community, Light said. “When you saw a house and a piece of property, that in my mind, was in calamitous decline, I tip my hat to the parties involved that have moved the project forward.”

A two-story adult treehouse currently is being constructed on the grounds of Bella Rose and will be featured on an episode of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters.”

After the meeting, Brian Runk, of Bella Rose, said there is no defined timeline in place for the construction of the new event center. His wife, Vickie Runk, said Bella Rose is getting many requests for larger events.

“This is really planning for the future so that as we grow, this is approved,” Brian Runk said.

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