Worcester Land Rezoning Could Grow Campground

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Planning Commission voted to support a rezoning request that could be the first step toward the expansion of a Bishopville campground.

On Jan. 7 the planning commission agreed to send a favorable recommendation to the Worcester County Commissioners regarding the rezoning of a piece of land adjacent to Bishopville’s Bali Hi RV Park. Property owners want to see the land rezoned from E-1 to A-2.

“E-1 is not suitable in hindsight,” said Hugh Cropper, attorney for the property owner. “If it is rezoned the property owner will have available all the uses in the A-2 district, one possibility of which might be an expansion of the existing campground which is smart growth.”

Cropper argued that the rezoning was necessary because the E-1 (estate) zoning had been a mistake. He added that by rezoning the property because of a mistake rather than because of a change in neighborhood, there would be no motivation for nearby properties to seek rezoning.

“It does not set a precedent,” he said. “It’s specific to that piece of property.”

He said the property, which is owned by Salt Grass Bali Hi LLC, was not suitable for development and did not perc. He said its location, at the intersection of St. Martin’s Neck Road and Salt Grass Point Road, was also not ideal for a residential community.

Cropper said the estate zoning designation had been deemed unsuccessful and was being phased out by the county.

“E-1 subdivision would represent sprawl — the opposite of smart growth,” he said.

According to Cropper, A-2 zoning would allow Salt Grass Bali Hi LLC to use the land as farmland or to expand the nearby Bali Hi RV Park, which was established in 2004. Cropper said A-2 zoning would be in line with the county’s comprehensive plan, which advocates for maintaining the area’s rural character and concentrating growth.

“It’s a no brainer that A-2 is more in keeping with the intent of the comprehensive plan,” he said.

If the county commissioners vote to rezone the land and the property owners do opt to use the site for an expansion of the Bali Hi facility, they will have to first get a special exception from the county’s board of zoning appeals and then site plan approval from the planning commission.

Cropper added that if a campground expansion was pursued, the landowner would have to come to an agreement with the county to connect the property to the Lighthouse Sound Sanitary Service Area.

Members of the planning commission agreed the E-1 zoning was a mistake and will send the county commissioners a favorable recommendation with the rezoning request.