Residents of the Animas Valley in Colorado are divided over the proposed development of a luxury RV park on a 36-acre former gravel pit. The developer, Scott Roberts of Arizona, plans to build his Village Camp brand on the site, which he hopes to open by spring 2024.
However, according to a report, a group of neighbors known as the Animas Valley Action Coalition is opposing the development on the grounds, saying that it does not conform to zoning regulations and that residents’ voices are being stifled.
Roberts submitted a sketch plan for the development in December 2022, and it was approved by the La Plata County Planning Commission on January 12, 2023.
The initial sketch plan proposal included 306 stalls for recreational vehicles, 49 of which would be occupied by prefabricated “adventure cabins,” which are essentially tiny homes.
However, Roberts has stated that he plans to file an application for a permit sometime later this spring. He has also acknowledged community concerns and stated that the formal permit application will include fewer stalls. Although unsure of the exact number, he stated that it would be fewer than 300 units but more than 200.
The proposed development has raised questions about the zoning regulations that apply to the property.
Typically, RV parks are required to apply for a major land-use permit. However, the Animas Valley Land Use Plan adopted in 2019 established the only Euclidean zoning in the county, which means that certain kinds of development in the valley are made easier depending on how a lot is zoned.
The property at 876 Trimble Lane, which Roberts now owns, is zoned for general commercial use. Under chapter 65-3-XII(c) of the code, properties zoned for general commercial use may apply for a minor land-use permit for “special uses.”
While Roberts’ proposed development falls under the definition of “special use,” the opposition group argues that the development does not conform to the code and that residents’ voices are being stifled. A major point of contention for the opposition is that Roberts is seeking a minor land-use permit rather than a major one.
Although the term “low-intensity, tourist-oriented recreational uses” has become a point of contention, the code does offer a definition that includes “golf courses, driving ranges, RV parks, riding stables, fishing ponds, campgrounds, glider ports.”
In this case, the development falls under this definition, and Roberts plans to apply for a minor land-use permit.
The opposition to the development has centered on concerns about the impact it will have on the surrounding environment and the quality of life for local residents.
The Animas Valley Action Coalition has argued that the development does not conform to the zoning regulations, and residents’ voices are being ignored. However, both county officials and the developer disagree, pointing out that a permit application has yet to even be filed, and more opportunities for public comment are to come.
For private campground owners and operators, this case highlights the need to engage with the local community and address any concerns they may have about the proposed development. By taking a proactive approach and working with the community, campground owners and operators can increase the chances of their project being approved and avoid potential conflicts down the road.