Developer to Put 'Recreation' in 'Temporary' RV Park

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September 25, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

There will soon be a new residential neighborhood in the area of Battlement Mesa, Colo., but made up of recreational vehicles instead of houses, in the wake of a decision by the Garfield County commissioners on Sept. 21.

The 119-space High Mesa RV Park is to be Battlement Mesa's second such development, and is to be built close to an existing RV/trailer park, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

The High Mesa park originally was planned as temporary housing for workers in Garfield County's natural gas boom, according to documents filed with the county. But the developers have had to shift their focus to include recreational tourists in the light of the ongoing slump in the gas industry in western Colorado.

Some residents of Battlement Mesa showed up at the commissioners meeting to object to the plan.

Concerns about everything from dust, noise and odors during the construction of the park, to the possibility of fire danger during construction and operation, were among the issues listed by residents of Battlement Mesa.

The objections also focused on the lights that would shine down on the Battlement Mesa homes from the RV park, which is situated on a hillside above the Planned Unit Development (PUD).

The developers offered to install lights that point downward and inward to minimize light pollution, and to consider orienting the lights so that they would be positioned downhill from the RV spaces and thus would be directed uphill and away from the homes below.

The 36-acre site of the RV park is located along a well-pad access road off County Road 300, approximately one mile south of the Battlement Mesa PUD.

The developers agreed to make some improvements right away, before the park is opened, that they had been hoping to delay, such as installing the toilets and showers. But some amenities will wait until after operations have begun, such as a small convenience store at the entrance to the park.

The developers also agreed to pay for upgrades to the access road, which was built by EnCana, to reach drilling sites above the RV park. The developers also agreed to apply magnesium chloride, a dust suppresser, to the roads twice a month during construction.

In addition, the developers will be applying to the West Divide Water Conservancy District for supplemental water supplies, and will build sewer and water systems dedicated to the park, after being denied use of the Battlement Mesa water district's facilities.

Commissioner Trési Houpt, the most skeptical of the commissioners about the plan, wondered why the water rights for the water system had not been secured prior to the application to the county.

Developers representative Jerry Rush told the commissioners that two wells had been dug for the project, and tested to show they have sufficient flow, but had not been approved for commercial use.

"Typically these applications come to us with those things in place," Houpt said.

She was reassured by the county's legal department that the well approvals, as well as other requirements attached to the approvals, will be in place before the developers can begin work on the project.

Houpt also wondered why a county limit of 180 days for RVs staying in the park was not being imposed.

"It's an RV park, but we did away with the 180-day rule?" she said with some surprise.

"It's an RV park that's open 365 days a year, instead of 180 days," replied Commissioner John Martin.

Debbie Quinn of the county attorney's office said the old 180-day rule had proved "impossible to enforce" and had been eliminated.

After a lengthy debate, including testimony from the unhappy neighbors and an attorney for the Battlement Mesa Partners organization, who oppose the project, as well as the developers' representatives, Commissioner Mike Samson said, "I don't think we can deny the application."

The commissioners, not convinced by the appeals of neighbors or recommendations for denial of the application from the county's planning staff, gave their unanimous approval for the park.

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