County Action Paves Way For New Campground

SNOW HILL – Worcester County
officials added a private wastewater facility to the county water and sewer
plan at this week’s county commission meeting, allowing Deer Run Golf Course to
become Deer Run Campground.

Plans for the property call for
a membership campground and extensive recreation facilities to be added to the
Deer Run Golf Course. The recreation area will include pools, soccer fields and
indoor exercise areas and would be available to non-campers on a membership

After reviewing the amendment
request in July, the Worcester County Planning Commission gave the project a
favorable recommendation for wastewater service, while suggesting six
conditions to be placed on the amendment.

First, the Planning Commission
asked that conditions be imposed to keep the campground closed from November to
March; that sewer services to the campground be turned off over the winter;
that year-round use be specifically prohibited; that no permanent structures be
allowed on campsites; that the berms and screening surrounding the project, as
detailed in preliminary plans, be retained; and that only canoes and kayaks,
and not larger boats, be stored at campsites.

The commissioners could pick and
choose between those restrictions, Commission President Virgil Shockley said.

Commissioner Louise Gulyas
wondered if the requirements would have more kick if included in the water and
sewer plan, adding that the commissioners have been trying for a long time to
get landscaping rules for Route 50.

“I say, leave it alone. Let it
stay,” said Gulyas.

County attorney Sonny Bloxom
disagreed. For example, if the county restricts campers to canoes and kayaks
now, a later decision to allow personal watercraft as well would need an
amendment to the water and sewer plan.

“That’s the danger of putting
that stuff in there. It’s too specific,” Bloxom said.

Putting those conditions into
the water and sewer plan would be overstepping the county’s bounds,
Commissioner Bobby Cowger said.

Prohibiting the use of the
campground over the winter months and shutting off sewer service to the
campground during the closure are relevant to the concerns of the water and
sewer plan and could be included in the amendment, Bloxom said, because that
could effect sewer flows.

If the commissioners are
concerned over the other recommendations by the Planning Commission,
Commissioner Judy Boggs asked, how would they go about imposing them?

A letter to the Planning
Commission requesting that the conditions be put on the site plan when it comes
before them should suffice, said Comprehensive Planning Director Sandy Coyman.

The Board of Zoning Appeals
(BZA) may also impose restrictions and it has already done so in this case,
Coyman said, referring to the November-to-March closure and no permanent
structures on the campsites.

The developer also agreed to or
stipulated several other conditions before the BZA, project attorney Mark
Cropper said, including a gated entrance, no individual mail delivery, no tent
camping, no timesharing, low-level lighting and membership-only campgrounds.

Deer Run’s neighbors wanted to
make sure that the new campground would not become a low-income housing site,
Cropper said.

Wastewater service would be
set-up on a ‘Y’, said Cropper, allowing the campground sewer service to be shut
down in the off season, but allowing the recreation center and other amenities
access to sewer from the other branch of the pipe.

The golf course will be used for
effluent disposal via spray irrigation.

Before voting to amend the plan,
the commissioners considered restricting the private plant to the campground
and amenities only and prohibiting the extension of services to properties
outside the Deer Run boundaries.

There are two residences
adjacent to the Deer Run site, Cropper said, which are on septic and which could
benefit from tying into the private plant in the future.

If the outside residences were
hooked up to Deer Run services, the area would need to be made an official

sanitary service area and the wastewater plant would be taken over by Worcester County and become a public plant,

Environmental Programs Director Bob Mitchell said.

The water and sewer plan would
need to be amended whether the two septic systems were absorbed by the private
plant or whether a new service area were to be created, said Bloxom.

The commissioners voted
unanimously to approve the amendment with the restrictions on winter use and
permanent structures.