Friends Come to Rescue of Campground's Owners

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December 2, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Jeff and Lori Shaffer

Drake, Colo., resident Shirley Miller said the Shaffer family has always stepped in to help when anyone in the community needs anything.

That is why neighbors of the Shaffers in the mountain community are coming together this weekend to help the family, whose Drake Campground was closed by Larimer County in October because of a zoning violation, the Reporter-Herald, Loveland, reported.

The campground is located in the Big Thompson Canyon between Loveland and Estes Park. The 10-acre park has full hookups, tent sites, and two rustic cabins available for rent.

"We just want to help them until they know what their future is," said Miller, noting that the Shaffers hosted many fundraisers for others and let community members camp for free during the Bobcat wildfire. The Shaffer family had operated the campground for 28 years, following in the footsteps of the prior owners.

But, county officials recently went to 8th Judicial District Court for an injunction to shut down the campground because the previous owners had agreed to a stipulation that the property could be used only as a residence and not as a commercial operation.

A judge signed that order, effectively shutting down the Shaffers' small business.

Lori Shaffer, shortly after learning the news, said they believed they were grandfathered in and, with all necessary licenses and paying all necessary taxes, thought they were legal.

But in order to be legal, the family must first have the county remove the residential-only clause on the property, then go through a lengthy and costly special review and floodplain special review process, county officials say.

The Shaffers have applied for the first step, which will go before the Larimer County commissioners on Monday.

Some of the campsites at the Drake Campground.

County staff, however, is asking the elected board to keep the residential-only clause on the property because of constraints with steep slopes and the floodway.

In the meantime, the Shaffers are trying to get by without their livelihood in a time they typically host hunting groups at the campground.

"I'm broke," Lori Shaffer said. "I don't have any income."

That is why, Saturday, the community is stepping in to help and show their thanks and support to the Shaffer family.

The event will feature a barbecue beef meal provided by Buckley Fire Department in Brighton, a silent auction and the opportunity to donate to help the Shaffer family. It will run from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Drake Campground. The tents will be heated, and there will be plenty of hot drinks and hot food, Lori Shaffer said.

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