The Morgan County Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the approval of a Commercial Improvement Location Permit for a KOA-branded RV campground in Great Cacapon during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 23.
As per a report, the meeting commences at 7 p.m. in the Morgan County Commission meeting room at the county courthouse.
Developer Scenic LLC has been working on this project for years, and the plans are now up for a final vote by county planners.
Scenic LLC’s proposal includes the construction of a 173-site RV park and campground at the base of Cacapon Mountain, along Cacapon Road. The first phase of construction will develop 48 acres of the former farm, which Aaron Bills purchased in 2018. The property is bounded by the CSX railroad to the north and the Cacapon River to the west.
However, the campground’s location at the base of the renowned Panorama Overlook and at the confluence of the Cacapon and Potomac Rivers has generated some opposition. Concerns range from the potential environmental impact of sewer services for over 100 RV campers to the visual aspect of the new campground, as seen from the Panorama Overlook.
To address the sewer concerns, Bills and Scenic LLC have been collaborating with the Warm Springs Public Service District (PSD) to engineer a connection between the campground property and the sewer plant located on the west side of the Cacapon River. This connection may require horizontal drilling under the river, raising additional concerns about potential environmental hazards.
Traffic safety is another issue related to the KOA campground. Critics worry that RV campers may create hazards on the steep and windy descent from Cacapon Mountain or impede other drivers on Cacapon Road. In response, Bills revealed that discussions with the Division of Highways have led to a proposal for a deceleration lane to allow RVs to slow down and exit the main lane before entering the campground.
The proposed campground plans feature 60 back-in RV sites, 85 pull-through RV sites, 16 cabins, eight yurts, and four tents. Additional amenities include a central check-in office, maintenance building, swimming pool bathhouse facilities, mini-golf, multi-purpose sports court, playground areas, dog parks, and several pavilions.
For private campground owners and operators, developments like the Great Cacapon KOA campground bring mixed implications. On one hand, such projects may increase competition by attracting RV campers and outdoor enthusiasts to the area, necessitating improved services and facilities to stay competitive. On the other hand, the arrival of a KOA-branded campground may raise the profile of Great Cacapon as a tourist destination, benefiting all local businesses in the long run.
During the May 23 public hearing, planners will review whether the development complies with county commercial building permit rules and if Bills has obtained the required state and federal permits for the project. Groups opposing the KOA plans are expected to attend the hearing and voice their concerns.