By the summer of 2005, Ray Selbe and his family hope their Eagle Soaring RV Park west of Steamboat Springs will be open for business.
The project was denied two years ago, but the Selbes recently returned to Routt County with a revised proposal. The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the request in September, overturning the recommendation for denial that came from the Routt County Planning Commission in August.
"We're very pleased that they've approved it," Ray Selbe said about the county commissioners' decision.
Selbe said the recreational vehicle park is low impact because there are no permanent structures on the property -- the park office and showers will be moved during the winter -- and that the park fits well with the area's character.
"I think it goes well in the country setting," he said.
Not everyone agrees.
When the plan was presented at public meetings, several people spoke against it, including Troy Brookshire. Brookshire does not own property in the area of the RV park but served on the county Planning Commission for 10 years until 2002.
Brookshire said that he thinks it's critical that all property owners have the right to use their land as they see fit and that he would have agreed with a proposal that fell in line with the area's rural character.
But he said he felt this project would change the rural character of the area and poses serious safety issues with RVs pulling out onto U.S. Highway 40.
The RV park is proposed for a 23-acre piece of the Selbes' ranch, which is about two miles west of the Riverbend Cafe. The site has been used previously for cattle grazing and hay meadows, according to the family's permit application.
The park proposes 25 units, as well as a wigwam office, two shower and toilet trailers and significant landscaping.
Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the project has less than half of the originally proposed RV sites, and is farther from U.S. 40 with more landscaping than originally proposed. Plus, it will be used seasonally and won't have any permanent structures, she said.
"They took care of addressing every concern I had raised at that original meeting," Stahoviak said.
Also important to Stahoviak when approving the park is that it allows agricultural operators to supplement their income, and so helps preserve the county's ranching landscape and heritage.
Landowners who oppose such operations should find out what sorts of land uses are allowed in areas that are agriculture and forest rezoned districts, she said. That way they can be aware of what can happen near their neighborhoods.
Routt County Planner Mary Alice Page-Allen said the Selbe family has a lot of details to address and has to return to county planning with those updates before it can open the RV park.
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org