MIDDLEFIELD — Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort will offer short-term event-based camping as early as July.
“It’s a critical element to ensure Powder Ridge is a viable asset to the community for the long term,” said owner Sean Hayes.
The plan, approved with one abstention by the Planning and Zoning Commission in December, includes about 500 campsites. Each campsite would be limited to six people for a maximum stay of three nights.
Camping would only be available for designated events. The park will need to file notice with the town when events are expected. Campsites are split evenly between tents and RVs.
Hayes said the idea is to encourage more events, especially off season. Campers would typically be participants or vendors. Events may include music festivals or sports.
“We have had multiple sporting activities... that say they want to hold a two-day event, but we have to be able to give them that overnight stay accommodation,” Hayes said. Because adding an onsite hotel was not an option, they turned to camping.
The first event to offer short-term camping will likely be a biking event in July.
Campsites will be located on about 20 acres of already-developed land, and largely overlap existing parking areas, so no construction is needed. At most, Hayes said they will need to widen certain roads to comply with concerns from the fire chief about emergency vehicle access.
“We're not utilizing green space, we're utilizing already developed property for these sites,” Hayes said. “It's either grass based that's utilized for tents, or parking spaces that are utilized for RV campers.”
The resort’s main lodge will remain open overnight to allow access to restrooms. Hayes said they also plan to set up portable toilets. At least one security guard will also be on duty overnight.
Quiet hours will be mandated for campers after 11 p.m., when the onsite restaurant closes, and no fires will be allowed on individual campsites. A few fire pits already exist close to the lodge and will remain in use.
The ski resort also has ten hotel rooms.
Powder Ridge started the process for camping-approval around September, with a zone change, and then with the approvals of a site plan and special permit.
Peter Tyc, fire chief and fire marshal, as well as the resident state trooper, provided comments on the plan and requested some changes to ensure it met regulations and that emergency vehicles could access all areas.
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