On May 11th, 2022, the Fayette Zoning Hearing Board held a public hearing to determine if Mountain Pines should be granted a special expectation to expand their campground onto the old Clifford Pritts Elementary School in Saltlick Township.
Since the expansion was first proposed, Mountain Watershed Association has listened to the community’s concerns surrounding Mountain Pines. They include noise complaints, air and water pollution, inadequate setbacks from residential properties, among others. In particular, MWA is concerned about Mountain Pine’s history of violations for discharging inadequately treated sewage into Indian Creek, which we have observed even after they were required to install a new system in 2020. A more detailed description of the zoning process, Mountain Pines’ history of violations, and additional information on this overall subject can be found here.
With the support of MWA, approximately 55 community members dressed in green attended the hearing to demonstrate their opposition to the expansion. At the hearing, Mountain Pines presented their plans to expand the campground by 125 campsites, which would increase the total size of the site by 30-40%. Mountain Pines claimed that their expansion will include the construction of “luxury campsites” that provide more space for campers. However, they failed to detail their plans for setbacks from roads, parking, sewage treatment, and other critical details. After the presentation by Mountain Pines, a group of residents named the Indian Creek Citizens Council presented their case objecting to the expansion, including a presentation by an expert landscape architect and certified planner. This expert witness testified that almost none of what Mountain Pines presented in their application complied with the Fayette County Zoning Ordinance. Three residents also testified, citing impacts to air quality and observations of permanent structures throughout the campground.
Ultimately, the hearing exhausted the scheduled time so a continuance was granted. The hearing is scheduled to continue on Wednesday, July 27th at 1pm at the Fayette County 911 Building on 22 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA. We urge community members to show up again in green to this next hearing. This process can be long, but it is important we attend to show the Zoning Hearing Board that the community is not in favor of this expansion.
That said, attorneys representing both the Indian Creek Citizens Council and MWA consider the application and presentation by Mountain Pines inadequate, so they have filed a motion to dismiss the Special Exception application. Mountain Pines/Diamond Properties will have a chance to respond, and then the Zoning Hearing Board will decide whether or not the case can continue. If they rule in our favor, then this process will stop, the hearing on the 27th won’t happen, and Mountain Pines/Diamond Properties will have to resubmit.
MWA will continue to reach out to the community to keep everyone updated on all issues regarding this process. If you would like to get involved or voice any opinions, please reach out to our Community Organizer, Stacey Magda, at email@example.com.