Montana RV Park Developers Hear Opposition

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August 22, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Richland County/City of Sidney, Mont., Planning Board heard comments from the public Aug. 16 on two RV parks in the process of getting approval.

The planning board is currently considering approving the Mindt RV Park four miles south west of Fairview on Montana Highway 200 and Six Pines RV Park next to Richland Park on County Road 128, the Sidney Herald reported.

While no one opposed the developments, there were a few members of the public who objected to the developments not following state guidelines to create RV Parks.

Playing by the rules

Most of the complaints came from other owners of housing developments who say they’ve spent lots of time and money taking the appropriate steps to follow procedure.

Hilltop Estates owner Bill Fink told the board he bought Hilltop property last September and has spent almost a half million dollars bringing it up to code even before he was able to add one more home. He claimed the Mindt development, owned by Gary and Stacie Mindt, was not following procedure by allowing residents to rent trailers on the property without prior application approval.

“It’s not a fair business situation at all. It’s not an even playing field,” he said. “I had to come up with money up front and hope that I got people moved in so I could recoup my investment.”

Subdivisions, he said, citing state rules, must be reviewed and approved before any part is rented, leased, sold or altered.

Terry Kline, owner of West Sidney Mobile Homes, agreed that state rules indicate how an RV park is supposed to designed. “If you’re going to do this, you’re supposed to do it by the rules,” he said. “Why should I have to abide by the rules?”

Hugo Asbeck questioned the pottable water wells (used only for irrigation purposes). Resident Jamie Selting was concerned with safety on the highway with resident crossing, to which others from the audience questioned those safety concerns.

The Mindt RV park would create 40 RV spaces with access approach on Highway 200. The independent park would not have water nor sewer lines but will have electricity.

Need for housing

Proponents of the park included nearby resident Bill Nankivel who said the Mindts have been good, reliable, easy-to-work-with neighbors who keep the land clean and quiet. “We haven’t had a single problem,” Nankivel said. “I think what the Mindts are doing now is providing a much-needed service in this area.”

Pat Kwasney echoed his sentiments, saying everyone wants oil and workers but there’s no place to put them. “I say give up the oil wells. If you don’t want the people to live here, then just give up the oil too,” she said. “We need to be there for these people too.”

(Editor: The town of 5,000 in the northeast corner of the state is undergoing an economic boom due to oil exploration nearby.)

A resident of the RV park, Michelle Wendt, from Kansas, told the board she’s been here a week and a half, though her husband has been working here for a year. If it wasn’t for the Mindts, she said, the couple wouldn’t be able to stay. Resident Kenneth Jones, an oil worker, said finding a place to live is a burden, but the Mindts’ park saves travel time, is in a good location and is quiet.

Six Pines

The other RV park planning board members heard public comment on is the future Six Pines, owned by Mike Sheehan, that would create 17 RV spaces. The park proposes no water or sewer services but will have electricity.

Resident Mark Iversen said he was concerned with the speed limit not being enforced on County Road 128. Kline and Fink, meanwhile, reiterated the importance of following rules by not allowing more than one trailer on the property before the application is approved. Kline then presented a list of licensed RV parks from the state and encouraged the board to drive around and see for themselves the amount of trailer parks popping up.

Fink noted the board is creating its own problem by allowing anyone to buy land and put trailers on them; they create the impression it’s OK to do so. “Unless you people crack down on this, you’re going to have them springing up everywhere,” he said.

Sidney Planning Board chairman Lee Pourroy told the audience the board is not an enforcement. “The only thing we do is take public comment, look at the application and present it to the governing bodies,” he said.

Board members will continue the discussion and make recommendations 7 p.m. Tuesday at the USDA-ARS meeting room.

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