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‘Bad Blood’ Colors Upscale Texas RV Park Resort Plan

October 5, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Kerrville, Texas, officials ignored their own rules in conditionally approving a preliminary plat for an RV park on Texas Highway 27, according to the project’s leading opponent.

Mary Matthews, who lives next door and recently helped organize citizens group Kerr County Conscience, says developers have long been coddled by local leaders, according to the San Antonio Express.

Mayor Todd Bock said he’ll look into the plat granted to Richard Colvin, but rejected Matthews’ claim that development plans are merely rubber-stamped at City Hall.

“That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” Bock said. “If anything, I’ve been told by the development community that we’re too strict.”

City subdivision regulations say a preliminary plat should clearly reflect planned improvements, including water, wastewater and drainage systems.

Those features weren’t shown on the Old River Road RV Resort plat approved Sept. 17 by a 3-0 vote of planning and zoning commissioners.

As long as the required details are submitted before a vote occurs on a final plat, it’s “pretty standard” for the city to let developers submit them after the preliminary plat is issued, said Kevin Coleman, the city’s director of development services.

He cited a code provision that says a preliminary plat “will be the basis for the preparation of construction plans for improvements,” and may be approved in phases.

Coleman said Colvin faces “some huge hurdles” before the commission can give final approval for the 280-lot subdivision on 120 acres by the Guadalupe River just east of the city.

Because Kerrville and Kerr County have no agreement on regulating development in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction — which extends one mile beyond the city limits — Colvin also must submit his plat to county commissioners.

Commissioners praised the project upon receiving the concept plan in May.

Coleman said Colvin also must obtain state approval for the water and wastewater systems, and for access to highway 27. Some of the site is in the Guadalupe River floodway, so the project must be cleared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the county’s flood-plain administrator.

The water system and access roads must meet city firefighting standards, Coleman said.

Those conditions don’t dampen Matthews’ anger that Colvin’s project has made it this far.

“He should not have been given a preliminary plat since he didn’t follow their regulations,” said Matthews, who fears the project would cut the value of — and well production — at her 100-acre ranch that features a 12-room home designed by noted Dallas architect Charles Dilbeck.

Frances Lovett, president of Kerr County Conscience, a group of about 25 members formed to guard against inappropriate development, shares Matthews’ fears that the RV resort could be hit by a flood, deplete groundwater, contaminate the river with sewage and worsen traffic on highway 27.

Matthews also has alerted state historical officials to accounts of a frontier cemetery on the site.

Dismissing those objections as misinformed and alarmist, Colvin said he’ll abide by all applicable rules to develop what he calls a unique resort that will add $35 million to the area’s tax base.

“This woman doesn’t want this thing across her fence line so she’s swatting at flies and stirring up everything she can,” he said of Matthews. “In Texas a man has the right to take his property to its highest and best use. We’re just exercising that right.”

Plans call for selling lots that average around a quarter-acre starting at about $100,000. Besides parking RVs, buyers would be allowed to build casitas there with kitchens, bedrooms and patios.

Besides access to river recreation, the resort is to include a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant, seven bathhouses with laundry facilities, two swimming pools, tennis courts, putting greens and hiking trails.

“There’s not a product like what we’re doing in Texas,” said Colvin, whose bad blood with Matthews predates his RV plan.

Records show Matthews and her husband, J. Nelson Happy, former president of Mooney Aerospace, sued Colvin in 2006, claiming he trespassed.

Colvin, who owns 340 acres that encircle Matthews’ parcel, denied the allegation and the suit was dismissed in spring for want of prosecution.

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