From Bedford County
May 12, 2006
1. The County has issued a notice of violation to the owner of a property in the
County where a barn has been converted for use as a meeting place for Cowboy
2. It is the responsibility of all local governments to protect the health and safety of
the public when they gather in public places. If a fire or other emergency
occurred and resulted in injury or death, people would rightly lay blame on
Bedford County if it did not ensure that the building met safety codes.
3. Based on information provided to the Building Official and the general public, the
Building Official was compelled by State Code to advise the property owner that
the use of the farm building for a Cowboy Church was not permitted under the
Uniform Statewide Building Code.
4. The County is merely seeking to ensure the safety of those attending the
services. Concerns with the use of the existing facility include:
• Emergency egress or lack thereof
• Capacity of the facility’s electrical wiring to support the activities
• Lack of adequate and sufficient plumbing
• Adequacy of fire suppression
5. The Cowboy Church also holds services at Wytheville in a Church Fellowship
Hall and has plans to hold services in the Thaxton Community Center in Bedford
County. Both of these facilities are suitable for this use.
6. It is the County’s intent and desire to promptly reconcile our concerns that the
safety of attendees be ensured with the property owner’s desire to provide a
meeting place for Cowboy Church and bring this matter to a close.
7. In order to accommodate those attending services, the Cowboy Church
continues to meet in the barn until such time as the issue is resolved. No cease
and desist order has been issued.