by Kate Shunney
Morgan County Commissioners last Wednesday sent a letter to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) and Chief of Parks saying the RV campground proposals they have received for Cacapon State Park aren’t a good fit for the park’s capacity or character.
All three commissioners voted in favor of the letter, which said a “large scale RV park” – meaning one with 100 combined sites – would create a multitude of problems, some of them not just inside the park boundaries.
Commission President Sean Forney read the letter at the April 5 regular meeting before taking the vote.
It cited the following concerns:
–Excess traffic and safety concerns at the U.S. 522 entrance to Cacapon State Park,
–Overcapacity of the park’s sewer plant, which is already at capacity,
— Clear cutting of trees and excavation required to accommodate RV camper sites,
— Damage to the park’s natural habitat and the watershed.
Commissioners also encouraged the state to “explore partnering” with Scenic LLC, the local real estate company that has been engineering a KOA campground business at the base of Cacapon Mountain in Great Cacapon. They noted in their letter that Scenic LLC has been working with the Morgan County Planning Office and Economic Development Authority for years on the campground plan.
“We feel like we need to take an opportunity to express our feelings prior to the public hearing,” said Commissioner Joel Tuttle.
Tuttle said it was worth exploring whether the Great Cacapon campground could be connected to Cacapon State Park, at the top of the mountain, via a new mountain bike trail.
Commissioner Bill Clark said he wanted to draw attention to the fact that a private sector organization – Scenic LLC – is already working on a campground in Morgan County.
Hotel/Motel tax for rentals
In other business, the commissioners issued a refund of $15,948 in Hotel/Motel tax to Homegrown Hospitality, a real estate company that owns rental homes in Morgan County.
The owners told county officials they were sending the county the 6% lodging tax collected by a vacation rental platform, and found out the rental company was also sending a 6% lodging tax payment to the county from January 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023. Commissioners discussed problems with a state law that made online vacation rental companies like AirBnB and VRBO send the lodging tax to the county but didn’t require reporting about which properties the payments covered.
Broadband internet project
Commissioners also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with GoGig, an internet company that will seek $2.25 million in state grants to expand broadband internet service in Morgan County. The county has already agreed to put $500,000 into the public/private partnership to extend the internet utility options for residents without broadband.
GoGig will apply to the state’s broadband development fund for money to extend broadband access. Commissioners said GoGig estimates the new internet service will pass by 1,900 Morgan County households, if the project is successfully funded.