(Disclosure: the writer is a Town Council member. The Council voted unanimously to allow the Zoning for a proposed RV park. In order to deny the zoning, the Council would have been required to cite a legal reason for denial and none was given in the public hearings).
The Forest Service has been trying to dispose of the entire 344 acre CampTatiyee property for over 20 years, but during that time, the neighbors were free to use the acreage almost as a private park. It is a beautiful property full of old trees, wildlife and pathways connecting to the Rim Trail.
Now change has come to the neighborhood. The land has been sold. Some was acquired by the Lions, who will maintain it as a camp. Most of the rest will eventually be developed - some as residential and some as commercial. In particular, there is a 25.5 acre parcel south of Highway 260 and west of Joy Furniture that will now be developed commercially.
Standard commercial development might look a lot like the current properties surrounding the Maverick Gas Station and Joy Furniture. That is to say, large asphalt areas, commercial buildings and the legally required 30% undeveloped open space. A shame to clear cut all those wonderful old trees, but I guess you could say it is progress and economic development.
Fortunately, the developer of this property has a different idea. He plans to build an RV park, something that is greatly needed and beneficial to our tourist oriented economy. The spaces will be laid out to keep as many of the big trees as possible and no asphalt - the roads will be permeable gravel which will allow rain to soak into the ground and keep the big trees alive. This will be a higher-end park - no permanent residents, no porches or sheds, no tacky ad-ons.
Wonder of wonders, this enlightened developer is even working with the neighbors - in addition to designing an attractive property, he intends to keep the trails open and design the open space so the neighbors can continue to enjoy the property.
You would think the neighbors would be thrilled, but change is difficult. Losing that big private park is difficult. Having neighbors instead of forest land is difficult. I have personal experience - that wonderful meadow next to my place now is full of condos!
Currently, some of those neighbors are circulating a petition to have a referendum that they hope will deny the RV Park zoning. They hope that in this way, they can maintain their private park - sadly, that is not true. This land will be developed commercially - the only question is what that development will look like and when it will happen.
Denying the RV park might buy a year or two, but be careful of what you wish for - look around at the other commercial land in town and that is what you will get - asphalt and big buildings, no trees, no trail, no invitation to the neighbors to enjoy the property.