Daytona Beach, home to some of the biggest motorcycling events like Bike Week, could soon offer expanded camping facilities for bikers and campers alike.
The owner of Cacklebery Campground, a popular fixture during these major events, plans to enhance the capacity of the campground, raising it from 400 campsites to 1,000. However, this ambitious expansion plan hinges on the Volusia County government’s approval of a necessary property rezoning.
Currently situated at 560 Tomoka Farms Road and famous for its unique “slime wrestling” attraction, the Cacklebery Campground caters to a diverse array of campers, providing facilities for both RV and tent camping.
The campground operates around significant events such as Speedweeks, the Coke Zero Sugar 400, Bike Week, and Biketoberfest, as outlined in county documents.
Despite its popularity during these occasions, Ronnie Williams Jr., the owner of the Cacklebery Campground, envisages a broader utilization of his property.
Williams is keen to rezone about 65 acres of land that would provide for his expansion aspirations. This would include boosting the capacity to a maximum of 396 RV hook-up sites and 604 tent campsites.
This change is significant, as it would grant him permission to retain temporary buildings and vehicles on site outside of event times. Additionally, the property is currently operating under a special exception set to expire on Oct. 1, 2028. The proposed changes would circumvent this expiration, allowing the campground to remain open around event times indefinitely.
However, the expansion plans face considerable opposition. The county staff has recommended that the planning board deny the plans, citing concerns about the fundamental shift in the property’s focus. The transformation from a predominantly agricultural property to a commercial one has raised eyebrows.
“This proposed change would make the subject site the largest temporary campsite in Volusia County,” according to the backup materials supplied.
The pivot towards commercial usage and away from the land’s historical agricultural background could signal a significant shift in Volusia County’s land utilization norms.
Despite the concerns, Williams insists that the agricultural purpose of the land would not be significantly compromised. “It’s going to be agricultural still 11 months out of the year,” he said, pointing out that the Cacklebery Campground serves as grazing land for milk and beef cows when not in use for camping.
The situation at the Cacklebery Campground holds significant implications for private campground owners or operators.
The outcome could set a precedent in terms of the rezoning of agricultural lands for commercial camping activities. It underscores the delicate balance between business expansion and maintaining the existing character and usage of the land.
Private campground owners and operators often walk a fine line between providing unique, event-centric experiences for visitors and maintaining the integrity of the land on which they operate.
Should Williams’ application be approved, it could potentially open doors for similar proposals, stimulating growth and diversity in the campground sector.
However, it also emphasizes the importance of comprehensive planning and collaboration with local government bodies to ensure that growth is sustainable and respects the character and heritage of the local area.