The Oconee County Board of Commissioners last (Tuesday) night imposed changes on the proposed plans of Pinelake Campground LLC to expand its existing campground west of Bishop before giving approval to the project.
Residents along Adams Road objected to the addition of a recreational vehicle park on undeveloped property on High Shoals Road to the east of the existing Pinelake Campground, saying it would adversely affect their privacy, subject them to unwanted smoke, and be unsightly.
The increased buffer size will decrease the number of proposed recreational vehicle sites on the property to some unspecified number from the proposed 34, unless owner Josh Evans can reconfigure the site to add the gravel camping spaces elsewhere on the 16.8-acre-parcel.
Length of Stay
At the Planning Commission on April 17, the number of days a person could stay in the recreational vehicle park was increased from the 30 days originally proposed by the planning staff, to 90 days to make the limitation consistent with the county’s Unified Development Code.
Commissioner Mark Saxon last night proposed that the stay be decreased to 60 days, but he did not get support of his fellow commissioners. Saxon voted against the motion to approve the zoning request.
Evans argued that the longer period would result in less traffic in the park and thus would be advantageous to the neighbors.
He also questioned the interpretation of the regulation, asking if a resident who moved from one site to another within the facility could stay longer than 90 days.
No one provided a firm response to that question, though Commissioner Chuck Horton said that was something that could addressed in the future.
Questions About Existing Facility
The existing Pinelake Campground was granted a Conditional Use Permit in 1986 to operate on 19.4 acres of land west of the proposed recreational vehicle park that is zoned for agricultural use.
Much of the discussion at the meeting Tuesday was about that existing facility.
Evans, responding to a question from Commissioner Horton, said he had only owned the existing campground since October and that he “inherited” residents who have been staying well beyond the 90-day limit set out in the code.
Commissioner Mark Saxon told Evans that he had driven through the campgrounds “and it is pretty obvious there are several dozen trailers that have been there for a long time.”
Saxon emphasized that the issue was “about setting up a campground or setting up a trailer park. There’s a difference there. So that’s the question.”
The Board of Commissioners last night also approved a lengthy consent agenda of items that had been agreed upon tentatively at the meeting on April 25.
Included was a revision to the county’s Alcohol Beverages Ordinance to lower from 25 to 21 the age allowed for those holding an alcohol license in the county and from 19 to 18 the age of servers.
Another item on the consent agenda was a change order to increase the cost of a segment of the McNutt Creek sewer line by $820,000.
I had asked Commissioner Horton in a telephone conversation yesterday a question about another item on consent agenda--the proposed Door-to-Door Solicitation Ordinance. Horton asked that discussion be allowed on the item before a final vote, and the item was taken off the consent agenda.
In response to a question from Horton, County Attorney Daniel Haygood said someone denied a permit to solicit by the Sheriff’s Office had the right to appeal to the Board of Commissioners, though that is not stated in the ordinance.
The Board approved the solicitation ordinance unanimously.
At the beginning of last night’s meeting, Kathie Anderson, 1230 Arborwood Ridge, North High Shoals, told the Board that she had decided not to coordinate a week-long summer camp for children at the county’s Animal Shelter, as she has done the last two years, because the facility “is not conducive to interaction with the community.”
She asked the Board to take action to improve the facility, located in the south of the county.
The video of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners is below.
Pinelake Campground LLC was seeking a special use permit to operate the recreational vehicle park on agricultural land, not to rezone the land itself.
The discussion of the request by Pinelake Campground LLC begins at 5:28 in the video.