The town board approved a land-use change June 25 that will allow an RV park development project to move forward.
During a heated, 90-minute public hearing, town officials heard from about three dozen residents. The comments were split between those who supported and opposed the measure.
The vote amending the code was also divided 2 to 3. Trustees Michele Black and Alan Rolston voted against the measure, and both the mayor and mayor pro tem were absent. The land-use code change will allow RV parks in all areas of town that are zoned as multi-family residential. But the proposed high-end park sparked the discussion about changing the code.
Some residents argued that amending the land use code to allow for the high-end RV park would generate additional tax revenue for the town and immediately benefit local business.
One woman asked town leaders to base their decision on economics instead of emotions.
"Our town needs this kind of revenue," said a 20-year resident.
Critics argued that a change in the land-use code to authorize an RV park could directly impact adjoining residential property values and increase noise and traffic issues.
"This should not be about money," a resident said. "This should be about neighbors."
A resident and adjoining neighbor, who said he was neutral on the issue, reminded town leaders that the proposed site lies within a flood plain, and suggested developers pay infrastructure impact fees.
John Harris, Dungan McDonald and property owner Bobbi Black are all investing in the project and will all own the park jointly.
Harris addressed the crowd during the June 25 hearing about the positive economic impact the park could have.
Harris said it would take years for developers to recoup their investment, but local businesses could experience immediate financial gains from tourists who stayed at the RV park.
"There's no milk without manure," said Harris about the balancing act between economic development and maintaining the town's peaceful charm.
Now that the land-use code has been revised, developers said they will work with neighbors to address their concerns, which including lighting and noise.
"We want to be good stewards," Harris said.
Next steps include working with the town and the local utilities and the Colorado Department of Transportation on the proper permits. The group does not foresee any road closure during the construction process.
The number of spaces that the park will have within the 5-acre space will be determined by the town's permitting process, Harris said.
The developers are optimistic that the park will open in the fall.
Black said she had thought about building an RV park previously, but she had not met the right partners, she said.
Harris moved to an area ranch two years ago and approached McDonald about the idea for the park.
McDonald is the owner of Heritage Land Survey and Mapping. He has been in engineering for 30 years and developed other RV parks in northern Arizona.
Black is hopeful that the RV park will drive foot traffic to the downtown area. She recalled that Boyle Park had been open to RVs in 2001 and it was popular spot with tourists.
"The town was buzzing," she said.