Warren County Planning Commission builds campground and event center for Browntown | Nvdaily
The Warren County Planning Commission on Wednesday reviewed a proposed event center and campground in Browntown due to traffic and safety concerns.
Edwin Wright has applied for conditional use permits to operate a campground and rural events center on Gooney Manor Loop and Wellspring Road on his property.
President Robert Myers and Commissioners Scott Kersjes, Joseph Longo and Kaylee Richardson attended the meeting. The Commissioners held four separate public hearings on conditional use permits related to the same proposal. The applicant is applying for two permits to operate a rural events center and two for commercial campgrounds.
The commissioners voted 3 to 1 to recommend that the Supervisory Board reject the application for a permit to operate a campground. Chair Robert Myers and Commissioners Scott Kersjes (North River District) and Kaylee Richardson (South River District) voted in favor of the motion. Shenandoah District Commissioner Joseph Longo voted against the motion.
The majority of Commissioners echoed some of the concerns raised by opponents of the proposed campground and event center: the inability of Gooney Manor Loop and Browntown Road to handle the increased number of vehicles; the potential fire risks of campsites; criminal activity by campers, participants in events; drunk drivers; impact on water resources and the supply of local residents who depend on wells; and noise.
Some speakers said they did not oppose it. Rather, they believed that the proposed site was the wrong location. Richardson echoed their comments. Many speakers described Gooney Manor Loop as an often narrow, partially paved road, and mostly limited to one lane. Residents said they had experienced dangerous situations with other drivers, some of whom were unfamiliar with the road.
Commissioners heard from about two dozen speakers for the first hearing on a license to operate a campground on the property at 2905 Gooney Manor Loop. All but two of the speakers urged the commissioners to recommend that the supervisory board reject the request. Many speakers reiterated their concerns during hearings held on the other three permit applications and urged the committee to deny them as well. Wright’s mother expressed support for her son’s business, which she said would protect farmland from future development.
Browntown resident Alan Thompson lives on Wellspring Road near the site of the proposed campground and event center. Thompson said he doesn’t object to uses in general.
âThe challenge is really very simple: it’s about safety and we are where we are. Thompson said. âWe have to face the facts. “
Thompson said he walks and drives the 8 mile long Gooney Manor loop every day. The road in front of Wright’s property is only one lane and not wide enough for two vehicles, Thompson said. He recommended that the marshals drive and see the loop at night or in bad weather.
âThe loop just can’t handle that much traffic, that much additional traffic over time,â Thompson said.
Thompson also expressed concerns about campfires that could start a blaze. Thompson and other responders said the nearby fire hall did not have the necessary equipment firefighters would need to deal with a blaze and that it would take a long time for crews from other stations to respond.
Wright said his proposal would preserve the agricultural use of the property as a farm, which has been in his family for decades. Wright also sought to refute what he called misinformation and incorrect statements and claims regarding his proposal, Gooney Manor Loop and trafficking.
Longo, the sole supporter of the plaintiff’s proposal, said he saw no problem with campgrounds or event centers in Browntown. An opponent of the proposal pointed out that Longo does not live in the South River District and would not see any direct impact from a campground or event center. Longo told the audience that the county can revoke any permit if the applicant violates the conditions imposed.