Campground Owner Battles Over Cabins

January 2, 2014 by   - () 1 Comment

Debra Keefe, owner of Chimney Rock Campground in Bluffton, Iowa, appealed a recent order requiring her to remove three structures on her campground, the Decorah Newspapers reported.

This fall, Winneshiek County supervisors voted to proceed with enforcement of county zoning ordinances regarding three cabins they said had been illegally constructed.

Keefe was notified Nov. 5 the structures must be removed due to her failure to obtain construction-compliance certificates (building permits) for the cabins. The notice ordered Keefe to “discontinue use of and remove the illegal structures … not later than Dec. 5, 2013 and shall be completed, with the land returned to the original state, not later than March 5, 2014.”

On Nov. 15, Keefe appealed to the Winneshiek County Board of Adjustment. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 7.

In her appeal, Keefe said the cabins are not in nonconforming use.

“The action is discriminatory. This is the first and only order on this topic by Winneshiek County Zoning and other non-conforming cabins have been left up for years,” she said.

Keefe asked the county to postpone any legal action against her.

“Planning and zoning has stated they will take up changes in the zoning ordinances. I do not wish to be subjected to legal removal orders for buildings that may be legal within 2014,” she said.

“I already have four other cabins on this and adjoining property. I own Chimney Rock, a long-standing campground serving the tourist and visitor needs of Winneshiek County consistent with Winneshiek County Zoning ordinances and Smart Plan.”

In a separate action, Keefe filed a lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this fall challenging its refusal to rezone a narrow strip of land at her campground to bring her three existing cabins into compliance with county zoning ordinances.

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One Response to “Campground Owner Battles Over Cabins”

  1. Barbara Holton on January 3rd, 2014 5:38 am

    With the ever growing need for campgrounds as the sale of recreational vehicles is enormous cities and towns are struggling to regulate them in order to keep them from growing. The regulations being so unclear and enforced on some and not on others is not only discriminatory it is putting campgrounds out of business. The fact is the way the laws read they could if they wanted to read them in a way to help and compromise with the campground but they chose to pick at the regulation until they find a word that may allow them to harass you until you have spent so much money on this you need to close. Campground owners work long and hard for the little money they make. Why can’t they get the same break as the big guy and compromise without being run out of town.