Coun­cil OKs zon­ing change for North East-area rec fa­cil­ity

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IANNETTA jian­netta@ce­cil­

ELK­TON — The Ce­cil County Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved a zon­ing change for a 170acre prop­erty off Me­chan­ics Val­ley Road, paving the way for a recre­ation fa­cil­ity to even­tu­ally open there.

Charles Narvel, who owns North East Ad­ven­ture Paint­ball, bought the land — which is lo­cated off U.S. Route 40 in be­tween Me­chan­ics Val­ley Road and the North­east Creek and abuts the cur­rent paint­ball fa­cil­ity — in or­der to ex­pand his busi­ness. He plans to even­tu­ally open an out­door recre­ation fa­cil­ity as well as ex­pand the paint­ball fa­cil­ity.

The land was zoned low-den­sity res­i­den­tial (LDR) and Narvel sought to have it changed to busi­ness gen­eral (BG). Both county staff and the plan­ning com­mis­sion rec­om­mended ap­proval of the change based on a mis­take in the 2011 com­pre­hen­sive re­zon­ing.

Narvel said Wed­nes­day that he’s ex­cited to have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some­thing that can be en­joyed by the county’s youth and fam­i­lies while also giv­ing peo­ple an­other op­tion for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. He’s cur­rently work­ing with a few com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als to re­view the prop­erty and see what makes sense. Some ideas in­clude creat­ing dif­fer­ent chal­lenges, such as an ad­ven­ture or nav­i­ga­tional chal­lenge, that could be com­pleted on the prop­erty as well as adding a zip line and ex­pand­ing the ex­ist­ing paint­ball, air soft and laser tag fa­cil­i­ties.

“At this point, we’re just really brain­storm­ing, try­ing to fig­ure out what the com­mu­nity may want, what peo­ple may want to see,” he said. “I’m try­ing to keep the his­tor­i­cal value of the prop­erty and the in­tegrity of the prop­erty. I’m try­ing to pro­tect the prop­erty but at the same time gen­er­ate rev­enue.”

The 170-acre prop­erty holds a lot of his­tory, some­thing Narvel found out af­ter he paid a his­to­rian to do a prop­erty ti­tle search go­ing back to the 1600s. The his­to­rian dis­cov­ered a num­ber of items of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, in­clud­ing that part of the prop­erty holds the re­mains of Mary­land’s first iron­works, which were owned by Robert Dut­ton, one of the orig­i­nal Quak­ers who set­tled with Wil­liam Penn.

In ad­di­tion, an­other part of the prop­erty was once owned by the fam­ily of George Read, who was one of the sign­ers of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence; Cap­tain John Smith landed on the prop­erty dur­ing his trav­els; and the prop­erty con­tains a reg­is­tered, his­tor­i­cal ar­chaic Na­tive Amer­i­can camp, Narvel said.

Narvel said he hopes to in­cor­po­rate all this his­tory into his new, ex­panded fa­cil­ity and is ea­ger to get peo­ple onto the prop­erty.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge of creat­ing some­thing that can ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity,” he said.


Charles Narvel and his at­tor­ney, Dwight Thomey, right, present their re­quest to the Ce­cil County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion to have a 170-acre prop­erty off of Me­chan­ics Val­ley Road re­zoned from low-den­sity res­i­den­tial to busi­ness gen­eral. The county coun­cil...

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