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County Issues Continuance on Request for Local Glamp-Ground

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When Julie Bishop came before the board of county commissioners on Tuesday morning, she was hoping to have the zoning on 5.1 acres of property changed from Agricultural to PDP (Planned Development Project) Recreational. The Hernando County citizen was looking to turn the lot into a campground for RVs and “glamping,” which involves camping in tents furnished with modern luxuries.

Located on Ponce De Leon Boulevard near the intersection at Cobb Road, the land’s original designation was meant to accommodate families. Bishop wants to use the rural acreage for 27-30 RV spots and 8-10 glamping spots.

The zoning board that met on March 11, 2024, had voted unanimously to recommend that the panel on Tuesday approve the rezoning, but the county commissioners felt differently. They felt uncomfortable at some of the prospects of the proposed plan and appeared ready to vote against her request.

Commissioner John Allocco expressed trepidation over the RVers’ septic situation and homeowner Robert Morgan was worried the campers might set up shop at the park for an extended period of time. The citizen insisted that this development does not appear to be consistent with the wants of those around it, and he encouraged the commissioners to decline. Commissioners Steve Champion and Jerry Campbell echoed Morgan and felt Bishop’s campground should be established elsewhere.

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“I applaud what this citizen is trying to do,” Commissioner Champion said. “It is great, but it needs to be in a different area. If it was across the street and was on a 50-acre parcel with no houses around it, maybe. It is such a small parcel for that many units, and there is no sewer and maybe there is water. Maybe not.”

The board members had various concerns about Bishop’s plan that needed to be ironed out or changed outright before they could consider the idea further, but Commissioner Brian Hawkins was more supportive and stepped in to suggest a continuance regarding the matter. This assuaged the concerns of the rest of the council members, and they voted 5-0 for a continuance to allow Bishop to adjust her plans and for the commissioners to regain access to their emails to inspect her proposal.

Her plan is still a bit rough around the edges as she is learning and working with Omar De Pablo, Hernando County’s Senior Planner, and an architectural firm on the details. One such way Bishop has already adjusted was regarding how many RVs were allowed on the property. Upon discovering that only 11 recreational vehicles are allowed per acre, she reduced her estimates to not just meet the threshold but be below it.

Though the acreage is in a flood zone, the “transient nature” of RV parks allows such a campground to only need to meet the minimum requirements when it comes to permanent structures like restrooms, stated De Pablo. When it comes to concerns from citizens like Mr. Morgan, Bishop insists that she has spoken to some of the neighbors and that they are “so looking forward to this.”

A decision one way or the other may have been reached more easily had the county officials been able to access their emails, as she had sent them a more detailed version of her plans beforehand. Due to the ransomware attack, there was some disconnect between Bishop and the board when it came to some of their concerns. Both sides will hope to have everything buttoned up whenever they meet again, as the date was left unspecified.

“I am willing to do what the city needs because, originally, this was just going to be glamping, but then I heard that there is such a demand for short term,” said Bishop. “I do not want long term […] I am willing to change [the plan] to make it acceptable.”

Commissioner Steve Champion argued that the glamp-ground needed to be "in a different area." [Credit: A. Szempruch]
Commissioner Steve Champion argued that the glamp-ground needed to be “in a different area.” [Credit: A. Szempruch]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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