Application for Campground in Headwaters Tabled For Now – Highland County Planning Commission

At it’s March meeting, the Highland County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on a conditional use permit application for a campground in Headwaters. The owner is Historytellers Productions, Ben Arment, and the location is 6983 Cowpasture Road North.   Arment explained he had been holding events for the homeschool community, but COVID had closed that down for a year.  He said he and his wife want to continue their mission by hosting family camping retreat weekends, which would be outside and safely distanced.  He explained that the county’s campground permit he applied for isn’t what they plan, but it was the only zoning category that fit.  He plans 45 campsites, with retreats only on weekends, once or twice a month, during warm weather, with tent camping only and no RV’s.  It would be a private campground, not public, with families registering in advance, with usually no more than 160 people at each retreat.   During public comment five people spoke in support and several others voiced concerns.  It was noted that a petition had seventeen signatures on it from local neighbors that were opposed to a campground open to the public.  There were concerns voiced at the meeting about increased traffic and the number of people attending retreats, but most of the concerns were not about Arment’s current plans, but about a future owner opening a year-round, public campground, since the permit allows that.

County attorney Melissa Dowd explained that a conditional use permit goes with the land if it is transferred, but county officials can apply restrictions to a permit.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to send the application to the Board of Supervisors with a favorable recommendation, with the following restrictions:  Friday through Sunday events only, a limit of 200 people, only campers that are enrolled are to participate in events, permanent lighting is to comply with the county’s dark sky ordinance, a limit of one car per campsite, an 11pm quiet time and the termination of the permit if the land is sold or transferred.

Ben Arment spoke with concerns about the one car restriction saying they’ve occasionally had parents arrive in different cars from different locations.  He also said they had hoped to allow camping to start on Thursdays, especially during Highland County event weekends.

The Board of Supervisors voted to table the application, with Supervisor David Blanchard saying they want to get this right and make sure that it will work out for everyone.

For more information on applications being considered by the Planning Commission, visit

For more from the Highland County Planning Commission’s March meeting, see part 2 of this story.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather