Zoning Hearing Board Issues Decision on Mountain Pines Campground Expansion

Diamond Properties, LLC, owner of the Mountain Pines Campground in Saltlick Township, is seeking to expand its campground operations onto the neighboring property that currently houses the former Clifford N. Pritts Elementary School. A series of hearings, taking place between May and August of 2022, were conducted by the Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board (“ZHB” or “Board”) to determine if a special exception should be granted to allow such an expansion. 

Upon the announcement of Diamond Properties’ attempt to expand, the Mountain Watershed Association (“MWA”) and a group of local residents, known as the Indian Creek Citizens Council (“ICCC”), decided to get involved. Prior issues experienced by the community with the operation of Mountain Pines included noise complaints, air and water pollution, inadequate setbacks, and improper discharges of undertreated wastewater into Indian Creek. While the main goal of MWA and ICCC was for the special exception to not be granted at all, the two groups came together to develop a set of proposed conditions to be imposed on the Campground and its operators in case it were to be permitted. 

On January 11, 2023, the ZHB met to vote on the issue of whether or not to grant Diamond Properties its special exception. The Board determined that Diamond Properties had met all of the requirements in the Zoning Ordinance, and granted the special exception to Diamont Properties for the expansion of its campground operations off of Indian Creek Valley Road. The Board did, however, impose 16 conditions on the development of a new campground, including many of the items proposed by MWA and ICCC. 

One of the most significant conditions imposed is that the new campground shall have no more than 90 campsites, while Diamond Properties initially planned to have approximately 125. Within those 90 campsites, there may only be one campfire per 10 campsites, reducing the air pollution caused by campfire smoke. Conditions regarding proper setbacks and buffer yards were also included, as well as one addressing noise-producing activities after 9:00pm. Privacy fencing at least 12 feet tall is to be installed along the southern property line. The Board included a requirement that all roadways and walking paths be lit, and access to the campground for vehicles will only be permitted off of Indian Creek Valley Road. A safe crossing site must be constructed across Nebo Road between Mountain Pines and the new campground, including proper signage and lighting, which may only be used for pedestrian and golf cart traffic. No individuals shall be permitted to reside at the campground and they may not stay at their campsites during the off-season. And finally, there shall be no permanent structures such as sheds, porches, carports, or added roofs permitted at the new campground. 

As a result of the conditions, the proposed site should mean the surrounding community will experience fewer impacts to their quality of life. Moving forward, Mountain Pines will still need to secure permits from the Department of Environmental Protection in order to establish adequate wastewater treatment for the expanded site. At that time, the community will have another opportunity to raise concerns about the campground’s history of discharging undertreated wastewater into Indian Creek. MWA will ensure nearby residents stay informed throughout that process. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Madison Hinkle at madison@mtwatershed.com.

Link to the ZHB Decision and all included conditions: