Iowa RV Park Developer Clears First Hurdle
A long-awaited campground near the Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa, has cleared its first zoning hurdle.
Water park developer Gary Bertch is proposing a 15-acre lake, dam and campground on a 153-acre parcel of agriculturally zoned property near East Shaulis and Hess roads, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
The city's zoning body has approved the rezoning request, which now goes to the city council.
The proposed Bamboo Ridge Campground would have 150 campsites initially with room for 50 more. A convenience store doubling as a campground check-in facility would be at the entrance off Hess Road.
"This has been in the works for a long time," said Bertch, who initially planned to locate the recreational vehicle park east of Lost Island before the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo entrance cut that site in half.
He plans to bring in many mature trees to create the campsite and shield it from surrounding uses.
"We do care very much about the aesthetics of our facilities," he said. "We want the campers to feel like they're in a campground and not in a residential area, or commercial area."
Pending council approval, Bertch said he hopes to start construction in the early fall on the convenience store, but the dam and lake needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
"It will be late fall at the earliest for the lake and dam," he said. And it may be at least a year before any campsites can be occupied.
Bertch has a franchise for the campgrounds with Kampgrounds of America, which includes more than 450 campgrounds in North America and requires a number of amenities and standards.
Bamboo Ridge will have several cabins, shower facilities, a playground and room for paddle boats on the lake.
Engineer Bill Claassen, who is designing the project, said the dam and lake will improve storm water runoff.
"The lake will take the peaks off any flood event that goes through there," he said.
But plans for an expansive residential and commercial development included in the zoning request drew many concerns and some opposition from neighboring home owners in the Guernsey, South Fork and East Shaulis additions.