Squabble Over Paving Costs Clouds RV Park Plan

December 23, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Plans for a recreational vehicle park near Sand Hills State Park, in northeast Reno County, Kan., have encountered an obstacle in the road, The Hitchinson News reported.

The proposed RV park would be east of K-61 and on the south side of East 56th Avenue, just south of Sand Hills. An unpaved rural road would be the only way for campers, RVs and trucks pulling horse trailers to reach the campsites.

The Reno County Planning Board last week recommended the county commission approve a special use permit for the RV park, with the condition the county have a commitment to pave East 56th, from approximately K-61 to the entrance of the park.

The distance is slightly over a half mile. No price estimates have been quoted, but securing additional right-of-way could be a related expense, too.

On Wednesday (Dec. 22), County Administrator Gary Meagher pointed out to commissioners that East 56th is a township road, not a county road.

Clay Township maintains the stretch, but two township officials, John Oswald and Charlie Giles, said the township cannot afford to pave it. Giles noted that Clay Township maintains very little paved roadway, and Oswald observed that Hutchinson’s annexation of industrial land took a third of the township’s assessed valuation.

Oswald remembered a discussion earlier in this decade, outside commission chambers, involving representatives of the township, Reno County, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Oswald, as a township official, participated in that talk and he said the county was expected to take the lead in paving the road, and the township was willing to provide in-kind help, including trimming trees.

The County Commission, however, took no formal vote to commit to the project, and since that discussion, two new commissioners have come on board. County Commissioner-elect Dan Deming will be sworn in Jan. 10, so none of the three commissioners who will be in office when the special-use-permit request comes up for an OK on Jan. 12 engaged in those long-ago discussions about paving East 56th.

County Planner Mark Vonachen said there is no controversy surrounding a related pending request to rezone some state-owned land in the area, including 80 acres for the RV park, from “A” rural development to “P” public, recreation and institutional. Whether the 80 acres were in an “A” or a “P” zone, though, the state would need a special use permit for an RV park.

Wildlife and Parks’ Ryan Stucky said he didn’t know when the RV park would open, but he would like it to open in 2012. He stressed the project should be described as “proposed,” saying funding issues have caused delays.

Area resident Robert Williams Jr. has expressed opposition to the project if the road is not paved.

There’s concern, Vonachen noted, that heavy vehicles — such as campers and horse trailers — will kick up dust, and when the road’s muddy, they will get stuck in the mud.

Planning Board member Herchel Crainer sought during that board’s meeting last week to table action on the special use permit request until questions about the road, including the cost, could be answered. The planning board voted 3-3 on the motion, and it failed. Subsequently the planning board voted to send the issue to the county commission.

Commissioners will talk about it next week and make a decision in January. They can approve the special use permit and commit county funds for the road; approve the permit but remove any requirement to improve the road; reject the permit request; or bounce the issue back to the board for further consideration.

In Crainer’s view, the state’s planning for the RV park contained a “terrible flaw.” Plans included a pond and electrical outlets, but no funding to improve the road to reach the RV park.

If East 56th becomes a county road and is built to the standard 100-foot right-of-way, that would require expanding the existing right-of-way, Vonachen said, speculating the current right-of-way is probably closer to 50 feet to 60 feet.


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