Opposition quashes campground
By Jane Beathard
Fairway Camping landed in the rough on Monday as the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals squelched plans to convert the former Hickory Grove Golf Course, located south of London, into a private campground.
Three of the board’s five members voted to deny a conditional use permit sought by DLPN, a local limited liability corporation, for a recreational vehicle (RV) park on the property at 3685 Big Plain-Circleville Road in Oak Run Township.
Board member Joe Slagle was absent. Member Nick Coughlin, an agent and owner of DLPN, abstained from voting.
Additional DLPN partners are Derek Wilson, and Madison County Commissioner Paul Gross, according to paperwork filed with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
ODH licenses and inspects campgrounds with the help of local health departments in order to maintain standards of public health and safety. On Sept. 28, 2012, the state agency approved plans for a 38-site RV park, each measuring about 2,500 square feet, on the 100 acres.
However, ODH approval did not hurdle local zoning codes. Currently, the land is zoned for agriculture and requires a special permit for conversion to a campground.
Wilson distributed a fact sheet and spoke for DLPN on Monday. He said a consultant would design the proposed Fairway Camping with the former Hickory Grove Clubhouse as its centerpiece and common area. The membership-only campground would include gravel “pads” and electric hook-ups for RVs, as well as paved paths for golf carts and a dump station. DLPN planned to contract with a sanitation company to pump sewage from individual RVs.
“Our plan is to bring the campers in during a designated week in the spring and have them leave during a designated week in the fall,” Wilson’s fact sheet said. “We plan to create a professional, family oriented environment for people to enjoy nature in a park like setting.”
Good intentions aside, about 25 neighbors of the shuttered golf course were on hand Monday to dispute Wilson’s claims.
Kim Kirk and Mary Young feared excessive noise and casual trespassing from campers at the facility.
“I bought (a house) there because it offered a serene surrounding,” Young said.
“Campgrounds are made to be noisy,” Kirk noted.
Sherry Allen worried drunken campers would jeopardize safety on area roads.
“Who’s going to police the thing?” asked Kenny Sims. “I see no way of patrolling it.”
Oak Run Township Trustee Wayne Holland voiced concern not only for his constituents, but also for those using the campground.
He asked how emergency responders — firefighters and medics — would access individual campsites, if necessary.
Holland also inquired if concerts and similar group activities would be allowed at Fairway Camping.
“There are too many unanswered questions,” Holland said.
Board member Chuck Hann noted local concerns outweighed any positive economic impact from the proposed campground.
“There’s no way of appeasing the neighbors,” Hann concluded.
Although Tom Coughlin was listed as a contact for the proposed campground, he is not a DLPN partner as was reported in the Jan. 9 edition of The Madison Press. We have removed this statement from this online edition.