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Campground may be built next to drag strip

July 22, 2009
BETHLEHEM/LITTLETON—While plans are being made to build a drag strip on Route 116, a 100-acre, 154-site campground is proposed to go next door to it.

The timing is coincidence, said Jim Heighton, representative of property owner Debra Kelleher, of Peabody, Mass., who wants to name the campground "100 Acre Woods Campground." Heighton works for Sterling Consulting, of Lyndonville, Vt.

Next door, Doug Ingerson, owner of Chick's Sand and Gravel, is proposing to build a one-quarter mile long drag strip with seating for 1,000 people.

"The projects could complement each other but Mr. Ingerson is not giving us any significant information," Heighton said Monday. "We're not having much success with him."

Heighton said he asked Ingerson what the hours of operation of the racetrack would be, because noise could affect the campground, "and he told me it would operate 24/7," he said.

Though the campground will be in Littleton, the access road is in Bethlehem and is on a right-of-way through 1,630 feet of Ingerson's land. At a meeting of Bethlehem Planning Board last week the right-of-way and access road were discussed. Heighton said he has offered to move the right-of-way slightly if Ingerson doesn't like its current location. As of Monday, Heighton said there has been no response to the offer by Ingerson.

"I don't believe Mr. Ingerson wants a campground there," Heighton said.

Heighton said it has always been Kelleher's dream to own a campground here. She bought the property in 2003 with the intention of eventually opening a campground. When she does she will live on the site, Heighton said. She did not know about the drag strip plans when she bought the land.

The Planning Board will meet again to discuss the issue Aug. 12. Because of the size of the project and its proximity to several town lines, it has been labeled a "regional impact project" and the boards of surrounding towns were contacted, Heighton said.

The campground is entirely in Littleton but the access road is entirely in Bethlehem, according to plans submitted to Bethlehem and Littleton.

If the driveway permit and access are approved, Heighton said he hopes to begin construction on the road this summer and open next spring. The 154 sites would be built in four phases over the next four years, with 35 to 40 campsites built at a time. There will be tent sites, cabins and site for RVs as well, Heighton said.

Martin Lord Osman
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