Cumberland Times-News

March 10, 2014

Talks about broader recreation uses at Deep Creek tabled

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — The Garrett County Planning Commission has voted unanimously to table a discussion regarding a consideration of a text amendment to the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning ordinance to include broader use of special exception within the watershed as it relates to recreational uses.

The discussion was tabled until a a projected date to start a review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan update was determined and until action was taken in regards to an Ethics Complaint that was recently filed against County Commission Chairman Robert Gatto, according to Deborah Carpenter, assistant director, Office of Planning & Land Management.

During a Feb. 18 meeting the county commissioners voted to send the matter of text amendments of the zoning ordinance back to the planning commission for consideration and review of context for potential use as a special exception Gatto and Commissioner Gregan Crawford voted in favor of the motion and Commissioner Jim Raley voted against it.

  “Deep Creek Lake is a recreational area and given its nature is subject to competing demands,” stated a position statement made by Crawford and Gatto. “The public has expressed concern that there has not been sufficient public discussion and consideration of issues relating to recreational uses and the board is simply responding to that concern and are asking the planning commission for their input, nothing more.”

Also during that meeting, with Gatto recusing himself, Crawford made a motion to approve William Meagher’s request including adding a new category of use for boat rentals including boat rides and/or boat tours as a separate service business and not offering any other services associated with a marina. Crawford’s motion died for lack of a second and therefore ended the pursuit and consideration of Meagher’s request for amendments to the zoning ordinance.

During the recent planning commission meeting Carpenter synopsized the commissioner’s request and stated, “In the wake of the public dissension over the Meagher issue, does the planning commission think that making more recreational uses special exceptions will allow for more public input and discussion? The commissioners are not asking for an action, but a discussion.”