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Proposed Zoning Legislation in Montgomery County Could Facilitate Campground Expansion

A proposed bill introduced in the Montgomery County Council seeks to permit campgrounds in additional zoned areas across the county, including the up-county Agricultural Reserve. The public can provide input on the bill during a hearing scheduled for July 16.

The bill is sponsored by Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke, Marilyn Balcombe, Sidney Katz and Natali Fani-González. Under current zoning laws, campgrounds are only permitted in rural (R) and residential estate 2C (RE-2C) zones. The new legislation, if passed, would change this, allowing recreational spaces and campgrounds to expand.

Luedtke explained that the bill seeks to balance the interest in overnight stays in rural areas with the need to preserve land for farming.

“We tried to find a way to balance the growing concept of having overnight stays in the [agricultural] reserve and enjoying our rural areas while ensuring we’re doing that critical work to preserve our rural land for farming,” Luedtke said, as reported by MoCo360 on June 12.

If enacted, the proposed zoning amendment would permit campgrounds for tents and recreational vehicles in agricultural (AR) and specific residential rural (RC) zones. The agricultural reserve, a 93,000-acre area with development regulations, would be directly impacted. Currently, this area only allows one house per 25 acres.

To prevent overdevelopment, the legislation includes standards. Properties must be primarily used for farming and must be at least 25 acres. These measures are designed to protect water levels and ensure the land can continue to be used for farming.

Luedtke noted that the new legislation resulted from “robust and, at times, intense conversations with multiple leaders and stakeholders in and around agricultural reserve.”

This new proposal follows a previous bill introduced by Fani-González in November 2023, which sought to allow overnight farm stays as part of agritourism activities. That bill faced controversy, with local farm associations concerned about the potential for increased development in the Agricultural Reserve and other rural areas.

Fani-González expressed her enthusiasm for the new legislation, highlighting the collaborative efforts that led to its development. “I’ve been working on this issue since 2019 when I was on the Planning Board,” she said.

The proposed bill in Montgomery County demonstrates the importance of staying updated with council regulations or changes to ensure smooth approval for future developments. For developers and campground owners, adhering to these regulations facilitates the expansion of projects or amenities and helps avoid disagreements with local ordinances.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Proposed Zoning Legislation in Montgomery County Could Facilitate Campground Expansion! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/maryland/proposed-zoning-legislation-in-montgomery-county-could-facilitate-campground-expansion/