Cumberland Township supervisors have delayed their decision on the conditional use of a planned campground on a portion of the land at the former Boyd’s Bears site.
As per a report, following over an hour of testimony from project representatives and public comments from neighboring property owners opposed to the proposal, supervisors voted 4-1 to take more time to review the facts before making a decision.
Property owner and lifelong Cumberland Township resident Brian Smith stated, “I grew up in Cumberland Township and I grew up camping. This campground will represent all the positives that go along with camping, and it will benefit this area.”
The property, located at 75 Cunningham Road, encompasses 132 acres. The campground would use approximately 33 acres and include 365 camping sites for RVs, 5th-wheel travelers, and glamping sites for tent-style camping. Additional amenities planned for the site are aquatic spaces, green spaces, playgrounds, a miniature golf course, and a space for washing RVs.
The project is in line with current trends in the outdoor hospitality industry, such as the growing popularity of glamping and eco-friendly camping options. Most campers are expected to stay at the campground for an average of three nights, with no camper allowed to stay in one spot for more than two weeks. Smith anticipates the campground will see seasonal use, with the majority of campers arriving between late spring and early fall.
If the conditional use is granted, the next step for Smith and his company, BR Smith Properties, will be submitting a subdivision request and a land development plan to the township. The current site already includes a building, 600 parking spaces, and has access off of Emmitsburg Road and Cunningham Road.
Smith is also requesting relief and modification from a 1972 township campground ordinance requiring a 300-foot setback from other residential properties when related to a campground. Setback relief is crucial to the project, as Smith stated that without it, he would need to consider other commercial uses for the site, which could be more intrusive to property owners.
To address privacy concerns, Smith plans to install fencing, screening, vegetation, and other landscaping to provide privacy for neighboring property owners. Water capacity is not expected to be an issue for the development. Smith’s firm, Carroll Water Systems, presented a document during the hearing, claiming that there is a community water system onsite that will not negatively affect other water services in the area.
Several property owners raised concerns during the meeting, including potential traffic issues, environmental impact, safety and privacy, trash collection, lighting, disruption to local wildlife, water usage, sewage-related issues, and the setback ordinance.
The Cumberland Township supervisors will meet again to discuss the conditional use. As the decision remains pending, all parties involved await the outcome and its potential implications for the local community and the outdoor hospitality industry.