Code violations delay opening of Mancos RV park

Thursday, July 5, 2018 4:15 PM
The original plan for the Riverwood RV Resort, approved in 2016.

In a lengthy meeting on Wednesday, the Mancos Town Board voted to extend a development agreement with the owner of an RV park originally scheduled to open July 4.

The town board approved a development agreement for the Riverwood RV Resort on Grand Avenue in 2016. Owner Dugan McDonald’s original agreement with the town required construction on the park to be complete in 2017, but in December, the board extended that agreement to June 30. On Wednesday, the board denied McDonald’s request to open the park on July 4 because he had failed to meet several land use code requirements for the property, but agreed to a 60-day extension of the agreement provided all the requirements are met in that time.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board voted to add a discussion of the RV park to the agenda at Mayor Pro Tem Fred Brooks’ request. McDonald asked for clarification on the town land use code’s requirements for plant screening around the park, saying town staff told him the trees he’s already planted around the property aren’t concealing enough to comply with the code.

Town Administrator Heather Alvarez said the screening isn’t the only aspect of McDonald’s park that has failed to comply with the code and the development agreement. A newly built resort clubhouse and parts of the sewer system are awaiting inspection, the town has not yet received a permit application for the resort’s sign and the RV pads McDonald has installed are round, instead of square, as originally specified in the agreement.

Alvarez said McDonald has asked for the town’s approval several times on aspects of his plan that don’t meet the development agreement.

“There’s a process to change things, and I feel that up until now, we’ve been very accommodating,” she said.

Throughout his discussion with the board, McDonald mentioned other possible changes to the agreement, such as using different trees than the code specifies or operating without a sign for a few days while his application is awaiting approval. He acknowledged that he wouldn’t be able to get a certificate of occupancy on the clubhouse building by July 4, but asked if he could open the rest of the park separately.

“We’ve spent $2 million on the park – let’s get the park open,” he said.

Trustees shot down each suggestion, saying all the agreement’s requirements, including the building inspection, have to be met before the park can open.

But several board members, including Mayor Queenie Barz, said they believed the RV Park would be good for the town. They acknowledged that the land use code, which is in the early stages of an update by SAFEBuilt Studio, needs more clarity in some places. In the meantime, though, they said the town needs to follow its existing rules.

“I think this is why we had to spend money on SAFEBuilt,” Brooks said. “The codes have been open to interpretation.”

The board voted 6-1 to extend the development agreement until Aug. 31 and amend it to allow the differently shaped RV pads, provided McDonald meets all other code requirements. Trustee Ed Hallam abstained from voting, though not from discussion, saying he has an interest in the issue because he lives next door to the RV park.

The board also agreed to bring up the development agreement in its July 11 meeting and vote on whether to amend it further.