The council discussed changing definitions to allow scuba site at a Frederick quarry.
Frederick, MD – The Frederick County Council met on Tuesday night to discuss changing legislation to allow mining quarries to serve as scuba sites.
Council Vice President Michael Blue proposed the act to ammend the zoning law, defining scuba facilities and including them as permitted sites within a mineral mining district.
The proposal comes from the efforts of quarry owner Brad Hill and scuba instructor Matt Skogebo to open a $30 million scuba center in Woodsboro.
The quarry was previously operated for scuba training purposes but ran into zoning issues when the site opened to the public.
Hill said the Maryland Department of Environment inspects the site quarterly and has given their approval.
“What I get out of this isn’t much money,” Hill said. “[It’s] a place to display stewardship to our county of water.”
Scogebo owns the Aquanautics Scuba Center in Baltimore and said the Woodsboro site would attract divers from all over the country.
“Maryland, DC, and Virginia certify 7,000 new divers every single year,” Skogebo said. “If we’re looking at even half that number attending our facility… you can understand the numbers we’re talking about in terms of tourism.”
Skogebo said they have created a non-profit operating at the facility, promoting water education, conservation and stewardship. They also have plans for an ecology center, student programs, hiking trails and more.
“We’re actually working on acquiring a C-130 to put in the water as a dive training aid,” Skogebo said. “We’re actually getting that donated to us by the US Air Force and the National Security Agency.”
The proposed change will be introduced to the County Council at their next legislative day.
By Timothy Young