RV Park Operates Beyond Permitted Use
Another recreational vehicle park being used by energy workers has run into regulatory trouble with a county government in northwest Colorado.
Garfield County commissioners on Monday (Oct. 6) decided to take legal action against the owner of the Elk Creek RV Park LLC outside of New Castle, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.
Assistant County Attorney Carolyn Dahlgren said the park is grandfathered in as a pre-existing, nonconforming use under county codes, but has gone beyond its permitted uses by expanding and operating year-round. Such changes in operations require a special-use permit, which the campground hasn’t obtained, Dahlgren said.
She said the county would seek an injunction, and if needed pursue criminal prosecution, to try to get the owner to come into compliance with county regulations.
Owner Myles Richards declined to comment.
Christopher Chappelle, code enforcement officer for the county building and planning department, said the campground recently changed hands. Even under the previous owner, it already had exceeded the number of allowable spaces, which is fewer than 70, Chappelle said.
He said expansion work under Richards’ ownership has included pushing material into East Elk Creek to make room for more sites. The county has notified the Army Corps of Engineers about the disturbance to the creek, Chappelle said.
He said the violations have gone on for about a month and Richards has ignored the county’s efforts to get them addressed. If Richards pursued a special-use permit, that would allow the county to ensure that things such as sewage disposal and traffic impacts are adequately dealt with, Chappelle said.
He said the campground is essentially serving as temporary employee housing for the energy industry.
“They’re going gangbusters out there because these guys see a golden opportunity,” Chappelle said.
Energy workers have scrambled to find temporary housing in the region, and another campground seeking to help meet the need ran into trouble this summer in Rio Blanco County. A 96-home park west of Meeker shut down at the end of July after the county refused to extend its temporary permit, contending the facility wasn’t a good fit with a nearby residential housing development the campground owners were developing.
At the time, the park’s co-owner, Ginny Love, said Rio Blanco County energy workers with RVs were turning to campgrounds in Garfield County and as far away as Utah because campgrounds closer to Meeker were all full.