By Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor
(June 26, 2018) Worcester County and the White Horse Park community are working toward a solution after complaints emerged about residents using the campground as their primary residence despite a caveat in the zoning code preventing such use.
Campgrounds in Worcester County are for seasonal use only, and not meant to become a person’s home, but county officials are reluctant to start throwing people out on the street.
“We left it that the homeowners’ association would forward us a letter containing the lot, name, number of individuals and other details, like if the person was living on a fixed income, was a veteran or some other data,” County Administrator Harold Higgins said.
Higgins was at a meeting with the homeowners’ association along with Commissioner Jim Bunting this week.
“We first sent them a letter in January, telling them they cannot be there between Sept. 30 to April 1,” Bunting said. “They can stay there temporarily during that time, as long as it’s not more than 30 days at a time or 60 days in aggregate.”
Rumors stating the park was going to be closed are greatly exaggerated, Bunting said.
“We’re trying to get the (homeowners’) board to do it using their own documents, but if that doesn’t work the county will have to step in and do enforcement,” he said.
White Horse Park Campground Property Manager Ted Gajewski said the association would be sending a letter out along with the relevant section of code to property owners soon, but didn’t have a timeline set.
“Some of the residents have disabilities or handicaps. Some have no place else to go,” Bunting said. “We’re going to prioritize.”
There is a framework, Higgins said.
“Their lawyer has drawn up a plan with phases 1, 2 and 3 and they all read a little differently,” Higgins explained.
But not everything between the two entities is compatible. The campground, Higgins said, has a 90-day timeline to bring properties into compliance, where the rest of the county has 60 days.
Higgins said the idea was to let the plan circulate and to give it time to work.
“The county can issue citations, or impose a fine and the property owners can request a hearing — it all takes time,” he said.
Time that could be saved by trying it this way, Higgins explained.