New Maryland RV Park Plan Axed
The Washington County Commissioners decided Tuesday (Oct. 19) to deny a zoning overlay request needed for a controversial campground and RV park proposed near Hancock, Md., the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported.
To build the proposed 60-site campground along Orchard Ridge Road, east of Hancock, the owner would need a rural business overlay on the land, which is zoned for environmental conservation.
Neighboring residents packed the Hancock Town Hall and Community Center for an Oct. 5 public hearing on the request, raising concerns about traffic and sight-distance issues on nearby roads, fire-suppression abilities, the proximity to a hunting club, vagrancy issues and crime.
Echoing several of those concerns, the commissioners reached a consensus Tuesday to direct staff to prepare a written opinion denying the rezoning request.
In particular, the commissioners were concerned about road-adequacy issues, fire-suppression abilities and the density of the proposed campground compared to the surrounding area.
According to a report prepared by the county planning staff, part of Orchard Ridge Road does not meet the 20-foot-width requirement for the amount of traffic the campground would be expected to generate. County engineering staff said they would require the road to be widened, but at the public hearing, attorney Jason Divelbiss said the campground owner planned to request a waiver of the requirement.
Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said road width was a key issue for him.
“You’re introducing, daily, possibly larger vehicles onto this road system — I think the average camper ranges from 10 to 11 feet wide — but you’re going to immediately ask for a waiver,” Aleshire said.
Hancock Fire Co. Chief Greg Yost has said he opposes the campground because of accessibility issues and because, with no hydrants on-site, the company’s tanker-truck capacities might not be sufficient to control a fire. However, the property owner has argued a swimming pool on-site would provide an additional water source.
Commissioners James F. Kercheval and Terry Baker said the traffic and fire-safety concerns fueled their opposition.
In addition, Kercheval noted that while the environmental conservation district allows only one house per 20 acres, the density of a 60-site campground on 40 acres of land would be 1 1/2 units per acre.
“When you try to look at all those things together, particularly the road issue, I have to vote ‘no’ on this one,” Kercheval said, adding that he sympathizes with the applicant, who he said has a good reputation and has done a good job of maintaining the site.