SNOW HILL – A Route 50 campground will have the ability to expand following the rezoning of a large portion of the site.
On Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners unanimously approved the rezoning of 28 acres of Fort Whaley Campground from C-2 commercial to A-2 agricultural.
“What you’re going to see is a natural expansion of the campground,” said Hugh Cropper, the attorney representing the property owner.
According to Ed Tudor, the county’s head of development review and permitting, Cropper requested the county rezone 28 acres of the 72-acre parcel because of a zoning mistake. The rest of the parcel is already classified A-2. Tudor said originally the entire site was agricultural but that the 28-acre section had been zoned for commercial use in 1971. Cropper was seeking an A-2 designation because that would allow the property to be used as a campground.
“This constitutes a down-zoning,” Tudor said.
Cropper said the structures that were already present on the site, a few buildings and a pool, were permitted as accessories to the Fort Whaley campground. He pointed out to the commissioners that if the parcel retained its C-2 zoning, it could be developed commercially with anything from a fast food restaurant to a night club.
“There’s no infrastructure for it, there’s no traffic patterns for it,” he said. “It’s entirely inappropriate for that type of use.”
Cropper said there were currently 210 campsites on the property. If the additional 28 acres was zoned so that it could house a campground, Fort Whaley could expand logically, he said. The campground is owned by Sun Communities, the same company that owns Frontier Town.
“Right now you have 210 campsites, which is really marginal to operate a campground,” Cropper said. “If they could get up to 300, 350 campsites it’d have very little impact on the neighborhood yet it would give them the economy of scale to build the infrastructure and really upgrade the campground.”
He maintained that an expansion of the existing campground was the best use for the property.
“If this is rezoned it’s going to be a much better situation…,” he said. “For the benefit of the neighbors we don’t really need 28 acres of C-2 commercial property out there.”
Commissioner Ted Elder pointed out that the intersection closest to the property had commercial properties on every side at the moment.
“Now one will be A-2,” he said.
Tudor said that in spite of the existing commercial zoning in the area of Dale Road and Route 50, there had been no development there. Phyllis Wimbrow, deputy director of the department of development review and permitting, said there wasn’t likely to be any.
“There’s such a problem with wastewater disposal it’d be difficult for them to be utilized,” she said.
The commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the rezoning.