Council OKs zoning change for North East-area rec facility
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 approved the rezoning on Tuesday.