The popularity of old fashioned drive-in movie theatres is coming back. While many folks have been disappointed at the deterioration of their local drive-in, most thought it was an inevitable change of the times. Others never lost their enthusiasm for the idea and have fought to bring them back to their neck of the woods. Rebecca Jackson of the Smith Mountain Eagle reports that if all goes well, Smith Mountain Lake will have their own return of the drive-in theatre in the near future.
Mayberry Drive-in near the Downtown Moneta community won unanimous approval after the planning commission and developers George Aznavorian and Bob Craig ironed out residents’ concerns about the outdoor movie screen’s height, as well as worries about backed up traffic generated by theatergoers.
A ticket booth will be moved further back on the property on Rt. 608 (near the site of the Bedford County Public Service Authority’s Moneta water treatment plant), to ease any potential problems with a line of traffic out on the main road.
The developers also agreed to increase the number and size of fast-growing cedar trees used to buffer the back side of the movie screen from Rt. 608 (White House Rd.).
Two residents had asked for a second entrance to the drive-in, which will include the outdoor theater accommodating 225 to 250 vehicles, as well as a diner-style eatery. They also felt the need for a traffic light at the intersection of Rt. 122 and Rt. 608 to regulate traffic at what can be a busy area at peak travel times.
Planning Commissioner Lynn Barnes, who represents the region for both the drive-in, and a second development dealt with Wednesday evening, Sunset Cay, said the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) eventually plans to erect a stoplight at the intersection.
"When the traffic flow there warrants it, and when VDOT determines that it’s the time to do so, then a traffic light will be installed," Barnes said.
Bedford County Supervisors’ chairman Chuck Neudorfer, who was present at Wednesday’s planning commission meeting, said he felt traffic produced by the outdoor theater would have a minimal impact on Rt. 608 because of the time of the evening films would be shown, and when over, the late hour the vehicles would disperse.
Construction of Mayberry Drive-in and Diner will begin in March, with completion slated in time for a grand opening on the July 4 weekend, Craig, the developer, said.
Both the drive-in and changes to zoning in connection to Sunset Cay must go before the Bedford County Board of Supervisors for approval at a meeting in February.
Rebecca Jackson, Smith Mountain Eagle Newspaper