Septic Issue Dooms Massachusetts Campground
After eight years of battling with the town for her right to run a campsite, the owner of Tispaquin Family Campground in Middleboro, Mass., bitterly told selectmen this week she would close her business by the end of the year, according to The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.
Barbara Holton, owner of the Tispaquin Family Campground, along with her husband, Ralph, told selectmen of her decision following a lengthy public hearing on board of health violations.
Holton said she plans to keep the camp open one more season to give her customers until Dec. 31 to remove their articles.
“I have been beaten by this town for 26 years,” said Holton who purchased the property and 32-acre site in 1984. “I appreciate everything the board is trying to do to shut the campground down, but they need not continue because I have decided that after this season I am going to be closing the campground.”
At Monday’s meeting, selectmen quietly listened to her comments. Selectmen Chairman Patrick Rogers said the Superior Judicial Court required the hearing to address questions regarding the suit filed by the town and Holton.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Rogers told Holton, as Holton walked away. “Certainly I know the campground has been appreciated by a lot of people who camp there.”
Holton did not say what her plans were with the property that is valued at $988,700 by the assessors. The two houses on the property are assessed at $410,800 and the 30 acres of recreational land is valued at $577,900, said Assessor Barbara Erickson.
The land abuts Tispaquin Pond and would be valued significantly higher if sold as house lots, said Erickson.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property. It’s not a piece of property I would like to see made into house lots,” said Erickson.
The campground has continued to operate, though the town has denied a license since 2002, sighting the inadequacy of the campground’s septic system to meet the needs of the units.
Board of Health Officer Jeanne Spalding said the campsite has had up to 150 units though it is authorized to have 57 units.
“If you increase your operation, you need to upgrade your system,” Spalding told selectmen.
Holton claims that her septic system meets the needs of her campground and has passed Title 5 inspections. “My systems are totally good,” said Holton.
During the public hearing, selectmen, who serve as the town’s board of health, reviewed six questions issued by the court and after hearing arguments from Spalding and Holton, they voted in favor of the town on each issue.
The questions dealt with topics such as:
- The Title 5 inspection and its relevance to the case.
- The design flow capacity and its significance, the board of health’s decision to issue a license for 57 campsites when the design flow capacity was sufficient for 49 units.
- The relationship between the alleged zoning violations and the board of health’s decision to deny the campground a license to operate.