Washington County Planning Commission members Monday night (Aug. 30) recommended that 40 acres along Orchard Ridge Road east of Hancock, Md., be rezoned to allow for a 60-site campground, the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported.
Some residents who live near the planned campground north of Millstone Circle spoke against the project during a planning commission public meeting Aug. 2.
Jill Baker, a senior county planner, told the planning commission Monday night that there is a petition bearing 230 signatures from people opposing the campground.
Planning commission members Linda Kelly, Andrew Bowen and Terry Reiber voted to recommend the rezoning. Planning Commissioner James Kercheval, who also is a Washington County Commissioner, abstained. Planning Commission Chairman George Anikis did not vote.
The recommendation now goes before the Washington County Commissioners for consideration.
The project has raised traffic concerns and, as a condition of approval for the project, the Washington County Engineering Department has stated that it will require that Orchard Ridge Road be widened to at least 20 feet for any portion less than that between the campground entrance and Md. 615.
Anikis said previously that he is concerned that a planned entrance to the campground on Orchard Ridge Road would have a limited sight distance because there is a curve in the road just before the entrance.
Anikis said Monday night that he also was concerned about a property owner across from the campground who would have to deal with traffic coming in and out of the campground all summer.
But Anikis said he also believed opponents of the project had become “overly” concerned about the project. He questioned the opposition to the campground when there is already a hunting club next to the property.
Anikis and Bowen expressed hope that issues between project officials and others could be worked out.
“I implore you, please work with your neighbors. It’s not over. You will have to work with these people as neighbors,” said Bowen, looking across the room where Hagerstown attorney Jason Divelbiss and project manager Gene Hamilton were seated in a courtroom in the Washington County Courthouse.
Divelbiss, who is representing project officials, said after the meeting that he believed the planning commission’s advice to reach out to concerned parties was a good move.
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.