City Gives Park Leasee 30 Days to Clear Floodway
Pettibone Park Campground operator Mark Pretasky said he’s not wasting any time in complying with a 30-day deadline to remove dozens of wood and concrete structures from the floodway in this facility located on an island in the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wis.
The items are part of an order from City Hall on Oct. 29. The list was compiled from several inspections at the grounds by city officials and the state Department of Natural Resources looking for city and state code violations, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
Pretasky has until the end of November to remove wooden steps from 20 campsites, concrete steps from eight sites, concrete slabs from five sites and concrete riverbank steps from four sites.
Renters also must remove gasoline cans and lawnmowers that “give the campground the appearance of being a mobile home park,” the letter said.
Pretasky said he has asked that campers remove the offending structures within two weeks, or he risks a $500 penalty per violation.
Pettibone, a family-owned RV campsite that leases the public park land from the city, has a history of run-ins with the DNR and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 2001, the campground was ordered to remove decks the DNR said violated state and local floodplain ordinances against having permanent structures in the floodway.
“Left unchecked in its development through the 1990s up to 2001, the campground evolved into the semblance of a mobile home park rampant with permanent development features,” DNR Watershed Management Engineer Gordon Stinson said.
The letter also addressed the need to have all camping units removed from the park for at least 24 hours every 179 days.
The DNR has objected to an amendment offered by La Crosse council member Andrea Richmond that would exempt the campground from the moves.
“Without the 179-day limit of stay, it becomes a more lucrative riverfront mobile home park,” Stinson said. “While this serves the interests of a few, it is at the expense of the many.”