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Fire Chief Fears RV Park Development

August 16, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Washington County Planning Commission members are considering a rezoning request to allow a 60-site campground along Orchard Ridge Road east of Hancock, Md., that is drawing concern from area residents, the chief of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. and other officials, according to planning commission documents.

The campground, which is being proposed by Harold Walter, would provide space for tent camping and camping with travel trailers, motorhomes and other types of camping vehicles, The Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, reported.

Electric hookups would be provided to most camping sites at the facility north of Millstone Circle and sewage from the campsites would be handled by two septic systems, according to the documents. Water would be provided by an existing well, and another well is proposed near a planned clubhouse, the plans state.

The site is currently zoned as environmental conservation and the proposed zoning for the site is rural business-new, a classification that allows for recreation and tourism opportunities, according to the planning commission.

Some residents who live near the planned campground spoke against the project during a planning commission public meeting Aug. 2 at the Washington County Courthouse. The chief of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. expressed concerns earlier about it.

Fire Chief Greg Yost said in planning commission documents that his department is opposed to the project because the fire department already has experienced mobile home and camper trailer fires that have spread or come very close to spreading to other trailers. Yost said he is concerned about fire threats at the campground, considering how close together the travel trailers would be.

“I do not see fire suppression mentioned anywhere in the documents. They talk about two wells, but that cannot support adequate fire suppression,” Yost wrote in the documents.

Hagerstown attorney Jason Divelbiss, who represents Walter, said project officials will work with fire authorities to address their concerns. Divelbiss said his client might agree to keep camping sites further apart to reduce the possibility of a fire spreading.

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