TOWER— A proposed RV park along the East Two River continues to generate sparks for planning and zoning officials here. At their Aug. 22 meeting, members of the city’s planning and zoning …
TOWER— A proposed RV park along the East Two River continues to generate sparks for planning and zoning officials here. At their Aug. 22 meeting, members of the city’s planning and zoning commission went back and forth for nearly an hour and a half with prospective RV park developer Dave Rose over the number of sites he’d be allowed under the city’s zoning ordinance.
The city’s shore land ordinance is complex, and especially so when it comes to so-called planned unit developments, or PUDs, which includes campgrounds and RV parks.
Rose appeared with a new map of his proposal, showing a total of 29 lots on his 4.6-acre, C-shaped parcel. It was a leftover backlot from the Mill Point plat that was too narrow and too wet to develop as a practical home site.
Rose purchased the land last year with the intention of developing it as an RV park, but has faced opposition from the start from residents of Mill Point. He’s faced questions as well from planning and zoning officials who have been trying to figure out how to apply the city’s ordinance on the unusual plot of land.
His latest site plan showed 15 RV sites within the first development tier, but city officials noted that his own engineer had indicated only 10 would be allowed under the ordinance. Rose argued that he qualifies for a density bonus under the city’s ordinance, which allows him 15 sites within 300 feet of the water. But the density bonus only applies for projects which apply a greater setback than the 50-foot minimum required, which does not appear to apply in Rose’s case. The map he provided the city appears to show several sites closer than 50 feet to the river’s edge, which would not comply with the city’s ordinance, much less qualify for a density bonus.
City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith noted that Rose’s map did not indicate the ordinary high water mark, which is the point from which the setback is calculated. Planning and zoning chair Steve Altenburg questioned Rose’s contention that he’s allowed 15 sites near the water, and the two went back and forth at increasing volume for more than an hour, with neither party giving much ground. At one point, Rose suggested that his engineer and the city’s engineer get together to decide the issue. “I’ll live with whatever they decide,” he said.
The suggestion didn’t put an end to the debate, but planning and zoning member Kevin Fitton finally did, by listing additional information that the commission would need to obtain from Rose to resolve the dispute. Rose said he would have his engineer get back to the city with the requested information as soon as possible.
The prospect that the site may only allow for fewer than 20 sites prompted Keith to question Rose about the economic viability of the project. “Where is the break point?” she asked.
“I’m in so deep, I need to proceed no matter what,” said Rose. “If it comes in at seven sites, it’s still a go,” he said.
But Rose still needs a conditional use permit, and will have to demonstrate access to the property and will need to complete an environmental assessment worksheet, which was triggered by a petition of local residents. He will also need to extend sewer, water, and electric utilities into the site, which is likely to be costly.