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City to hear from residents on proposed RV park

Public hearing set for Thursday on possible zoning change needed for the project

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 2/18/16

TOWER— The city council voted, at their regular meeting on Feb. 8, to hold a public hearing to take input from residents regarding a proposed RV campground near Mill Point.

The city’s …

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City to hear from residents on proposed RV park

Public hearing set for Thursday on possible zoning change needed for the project

Posted

TOWER— The city council voted, at their regular meeting on Feb. 8, to hold a public hearing to take input from residents regarding a proposed RV campground near Mill Point.

The city’s planning commission heard the proposal recently and is considering a zoning change from the current residential classification to the harbor north zoning classification, which would allow many more commercial uses in the area. Without the zoning change, which would be the subject of the public hearing, property owner Dave Rose won’t be able to proceed with his plan to create 27 RV sites just off Lake Avenue as well as on the East Two River. The planning commission can’t grant Rose a variance since he can’t demonstrate a hardship.

The proposal has already raised concerns from Mill Point residents, who are worried that increased traffic will damage their road, fill wetlands, and lower property values in the area. They have also raised questions about sewage disposal from the site.

A zoning change could also open up the area to a much wider variety of uses, including restaurants, nightclubs, retail shops and other commercial activities that could be disruptive to neighbors in the quiet residential area, according to Tower Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith.

Some of the RV sites would be located about 200 feet from the closest residence at Mill Point. The land in question is currently undeveloped.

On the other hand, the project could attract more visitors to the Tower area, since the two publicly-owned campgrounds in the area rarely have openings for long-term RV campers.

City Councilor Joan Broten, a Mill Point resident, urged the council to reject the plan. “I think it’s a poor choice,” she said. But Mayor Josh Carlson said he’d like to hear what others in the community have to say about the plan. The council set the public hearing for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at city hall.

In other business, the council clarified policies regarding additional campers at Hoodoo Point. In the past, some campers invited family members to park additional campers on their rented campsites, without additional charges. The practice had begun long before the current managers of the campground, who had asked the council to set a clear policy. The council did so, setting a rule of one RV or camper per site, while allowing additional tents as overflow. Councilors noted that the campground had already been flagged by the Health Department for overtaxing its septic system and that the additional campers were making the campground appear cluttered.

In other action, the council:

• Set aside the city’s Northstar Addition zoning rules to avoid penalty to a recent home buyer in the area who found out, after purchasing a residence in the subdivision, that an exterior deck was encroaching on the required setback from a designated green space. “It’s still on the owner’s property,” said Keith. “It’s just within the setback.” According to Keith, the new owners were caught in a “catch-22.” “They had no knowledge of this issue,” she said. “To penalize them now seems kind of harsh.”

• Appointed Steve Peterson as the third member of the city’s new Main Street Committee.

• Approved a motion to move forward with an airport repaving project contingent on obtaining funding for the city’s local match.

• Approved submitting a $350,000 economic stimulus grant request to the IRRRB for additional work on trails, sidewalks, and related connectivity work between the harbor and downtown.

• Approved a transfer of an existing airport hangar lease to Rick Worringer.

• Accepted an application to join the Tower Ambulance Service from Mary Worringer.

• Gave approval to the final version of the updated Tower-Breitung Comprehensive Plan.

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