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The Boston Globe

South

Middleborough

Campground owners give up fight, plan to sell site

MIDDLEBOROUGH — The longtime owners of a Middleborough family campground have decided to sell their 40-acre pond-side property to a developer.

Barbara and Ralph Holton, proprietors of Tispaquin Family Campground, informed their seasonal customers on Wednesday to give them time to make summer plans.

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The Holtons were ordered by a court last June to reduce the number of campers on the Purchase Street property to the 57 allowed on the original 1984 permit.

Last month, when the family still hadn’t complied with the ruling, town officials shut the campground down, stationing a police cruiser at the entrance after the couple removed the chain barring entry.

The decades-long feud has pitted local health officials — who say the property’s septic system can’t handle the volume — against the family, who maintain they are allowed to have 57 camp sites, not 57 individual campers, as the town and court have said.

The Holtons have accepted more than 100 seasonal campers at any one time, officials said.

“The people that know us, and have known us for the last 30 years, know that this is not the route that I really want to take, but it is now the only solution,’’ Barbara Holton said. She asked longtime patrons to claim their campers as soon as they are able.

“The town has made it impossible for us to run our business the same as other campgrounds, and even though I have fought the fight, the expense and stress have taken their toll,’’ she said.

Holton said she is not bitter despite the “trouble” the town has created for her. “We have had almost 30 wonderful years of friends and customers and stories and laughs and we’ve also had to cry, but these memories will last forever,’’ she said.

Holton said she hopes to be out of Middleborough as soon as possible.

Officials have said that enforcing the Holtons’ permit is not based on whether the couple run a good campground, but that everyone has to follow the same rules.

E-mail Michele Morgan Bolton at michelebolton@ live.com.
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