RV resort project rejected by county planning commission

A proposal to construct a recreational vehicle park in the Dublin Hollow section near Claytor Lake looks doomed following a meeting Tuesday of the Pulaski County Planning Commission in which dozens of residents of the area turned out in opposition to the project.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to recommend denial of a Special Use Permit being sought by Jeffrey K. Harman that would allow the park to be constructed on a 30.5-acre site near Blue Sky Lane off Wilderness Road near Dublin.

Only Commission Chairman Doug Warren voted to recommend approval of the permit.

The issue now moves on to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration, however, sources indicate Harman may withdraw the proposal altogether following Tuesday’s meeting.

The property in question is currently vacant and zoned for agriculture, a zoning designation that allows for an RV park via a Special Use Permit.

Harman’s plan calls for the creation of Blue Sky Lane RV Resort, which would contain up to 150 campsites, a pool, playground, fire pits, paved camping pads, beach area at the lake, picnic shelter, game courts for basketball, volleyball and tennis, walking trails, a bath house, convenience store, multi-slip dock, dock ramp, fishing pier and other amenities.

Commissioners and the audience heard a presentation on the project by the county’s Danny Wilson, Planning and Zoning Administrator, and George Smith, an engineer representing Harman.

Smith said the proposal submitted with the SUP request was merely a concept plan and not final. For instance, he said, it is likely the park would include only 100 to 110 RV sites – not 150.

He likened the proposed park to Covey’s Campground almost directly across the cove, only with shorter leases than Covey’s.

During his overview of the proposal, Wilson noted that – based on an analysis of existing conditions, potential property uses, the Future Land Use Map designation for the property and the application materials – county staff recommends approval of the SUP to allow the resort.

During the public hearing portion of the meeting, however, the proposal met with heavy opposition from several speakers as well as a slew of letters, emails and names on petitions asking the planning commission to reject the idea.

One of those opposed, Laura Bullard, 535 people had signed petitions in opposition to the project. She asked for those in attendance Tuesday night to stand if they were opposed.  Nearly everyone in the meeting room stood.

Reasons for opposition centered mainly around concerns over Blue Sky Lane leading to the resort being able to handle the number and size of vehicles to be attracted to the project – including RVs which can be over 8 feet wide and 45 feet long.

It was noted at the end of the paved, state maintained portion of Blue Sky Lane there is an estimated 270-degree turn from the state maintained portion of the roadway to a gravel portion which makes up the rest of Blue Sky Lane and leads into the area planned for the resort.

Safety for school buses and bicycle riders who frequent the area was also a concern – not only on Blue Sky Lane, but also on Wilderness Road and Hazel Hollow leading to the area.

Opponents also pointed to the fact Dublin Hollow is one of the most heavily used areas of Claytor Lake, and the fear the resort’s proposed docks would add to the traffic in the area and.

Opponents also expressed concerns over the environmental impact of the project on the area.

During discussion on the proposal, Commissioner Dr. Fritz Streff pointed out that even if the proposal was eventually rejected, some 60 single-family homes, 14 waterfront lots and a number of dock slips could be developed on the site under the zoning that now exists.

Commissioner Al Smith offered a motion for the commission to recommend to the board of supervisors that the request for the SUP be denied.  Commissioner David Dean seconded the motion.

Dean said the “safety factor” stood out to him and was the reason for his seconding Smith’s motion. He added the project sounded like a great idea for the developer, but not at that location.

Commissioner Dean Pratt – the Board of Supervisors’ representative on the commission – said the issue of safety was also his primary concern with the project, along with the feeling it would change the area.

Commissioner Andy Hall noted opposition to the project had been seen before in other instances of proposed development along Claytor Lake.

If the Special Use Permit request isn’t withdrawn, the Board of Supervisors will take up the issue at their March 26 meeting and make a final decision.

By Mike Williams, The Patriot