BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. —  A public hearing on potential RV sites set up at Cacapon State Park has been delayed.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources postponed the hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, because a legal challenge was brought forth claiming the DNR did not advertise the meeting to the public properly.

On Friday, April 14, a petition was filed in Morgan County Circuit Court, calling for the public hearing to be cancelled. Dale Kirchner, represented by attorney Larry Schultz, filed a petition for writ of mandamus, calling for the hearing to be stopped because, according to them, the public had not been properly notified.

In the petition, it says the DNR is required to provide a public notice of a public hearing by a Class II legal advertisement. The notice of the meeting would also be posted on the State Auditor’s website.

Attorney’s of the DNR claim they could prove they followed proper guidelines for establishing a public hearing. However, according to an agreed order entered into Morgan County Circuit Court, “the Defendants do not wish to proceed if there is an appearance of impropriety, but instead desire to assure the public that it is in full compliance with any and all notice requirements. Accordingly, the Defendants find it fitting to cancel the meeting scheduled for April 18, 2023.”

The purpose of the hearing was because the West Virginia DNR submitted a request for proposals from vendors to seek out private investors interested in establishing an RV campground in the Morgan County state park. Three RV campground proposals were submitted.

The state Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is reviewing three development proposals submitted by Blue Water Development, River & Trail Outfitters and Scenic LLC.

The Winchester Star reports the three proposals include ideas about where the RV camping spots would be located.

One proposal, from Blue Water Corporation would put 240 RV camping sites behind the park’s Nature Center, or 350 RV sites north of the northern portion of the Ziler Loop.

A  proposal from River & Trail Outfitters would add about 50 RV camping sites in the Cabin Loop Trail area. The company’s submission includes plans for an Airsoft course and shuttle bus services for mountain bikers.

A proposal from Scenic LLC would establish a 173-site campground at the base of Cacapon Mountain.

The release from the DNR said that any trails impacted by the construction would be relocated or reintegrated into the new facility.

Proponents say the project would help make the park more financially self sufficient.

WVDNR Director Brett McMillion said “The State of West Virginia, by and through the WVDNR, has invested heavily in the wonderful amenities and opportunities available at Cacapon Resort State Park.  We have every intent to maintain and foster these successes and fulfill the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources: to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment, and the use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia”

Those opposing the idea include those who work and enjoy the trails and the relative quiet Cacapon offers.

Earlier this month, Morgan County Commissioners penned a letter to the West Virginia State Parks director, citing concerns about how an increase in RV traffic would affect US-522 and the roads in the park.  There is currently only one way in or out of the park.

The letter also cited infrastructure inside the park, saying the sewer plant that serves CRSP is already at capacity and has been due for an expansion even before a multimillion dollar expansion to the lodge and other amenities at the park was undertaken in recent years.

The commissioners also voiced concerns about how the clear cutting needed to create the proposed RV park would damage the landscape and destroy habitats.

As of now, there has not been a new date set for a public hearing