The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to establish a new zoning designation that could deem certain locations in the county as “historic.”
The idea arose last year after county government officials met with Lumpkin Campground’s board of trustees, who oversees the 180-year-old church meeting area.
David Hughes said while the campground now has amenities such as water and electricity, little else has changed over the years.
“You know ... that it is a unique place. It is a different place and it simply has to have some kind of special status,” Hughes told the commission. “The campground has been good stewards to the county ... preserving every tree that we possibly could, protecting our streams and barriers, and we would just ask that you approve this special historical status.”
The ordinance changes inspection standards for “tents”— or cabins at the campground, which are used about 10 days each year when owners and their guests meet for revival.
“We don’t want to have anything that is unsafe,” said Larry Taffar, a campground trustee. “But we do feel like we need to be able to exempt some parts.”
Taffar said the tents should not be held to the same construction standards as a $200,000-500,000 home.
“That’s our main concern,” he said.
Several years ago, attempts to submit the campground for recognition to the National Registry of Historical Places faltered.
Dawson County Historical Society member Helen Taylor said the plan failed because the campground’s trustees were concerned officials with the registry would “tell them they can’t do it the way they want to do it.”
The board voted 3-0 to adopt the ordinance with provisions that the properties must be at least 100 years or older and contribute to the cultural or historical development and heritage of the area, among others.
Commissioner James Swafford was absent from the meeting.
“There is no question that (the campground) is historical. It’s a great heritage,” Taylor said.