Council questions RV resort project
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 08:23 am
Turner Valley’s town council is questioning a proposal that’s fired up dozens of residents over the last few months.
During its committee of the whole meeting on Monday, councillors say although they like the idea of a recreational vehicle resort in their community they can’t be sure the Millarville company proposing the purchase-only resort is the right fit.
“In a perfect scenario it could be a very rewarding thing to have in our community both in business and our vision of what we’re trying to achieve as we move forward,” said deputy mayor Dona Fluter. “We asked the developer to do a few things. I do not believe he has exercised all of those directions we asked of him.”
Millarville company Strong Way is proposing a 250-lot recreational vehicle resort north of the Bailey Ridge subdivision and west of Decalta Road along the Sheep River.
The approximately 50 acres of land is zoned as residential. Council passed two of three readings required to rezone it to recreational, which could allow Strong Way to purchase the lot and apply to the town to develop a recreational vehicle resort.
A decision is expected to be made during council’s next regular meeting on April 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Fluter said the second reading listed requirements for Strong Way director Keith Schneider, which included hosting an informative second open house for area residents.
Fluter said she felt the developer didn’t understand what was required of him at the open house.
Town planner Matt Atkinson assured her he made it clear to Schneider he was to provide detailed information about the project at the March meeting, but that didn’t occur.
Atkinson added Schneider’s report to council was also lacking.
“I feel at this point he’s had ample chance to present his case to council,” he said. “He has clear direction from council.”
Schneider said he feels he responded to the questions and directions provided to him through the Town’s planning department and replied to the questions asked at the open house.
“I certainly availed myself to provide information and often, as asked and respectfully requested,” he said. “Whatever I was asked to do I believe I responded to as reasonably as possible.”
Schneider said since he approached the Town with his proposal he has felt supported by council.
“Even if they said no to this particular application I don’t think they are saying an RV resort isn’t a good idea or beneficial to the community,” he said. “We will wait and see what council has to say later in the month at the formal meeting.”
Turner Valley coun. Barry Williamson said the public’s reaction to the open house in March showed they were disappointed with the lack of information provided.
“I don’t think the job on this one was done well enough,” he said.
Town administration received dozens of letters and emails expressing concerns about the project. Many voiced their concerns at council meetings.
Williamson said the public was quite vocal and in some cases volatile while expressing their concerns.
“They needed to give administration and council fair due process and allow us to follow it without reacting the way they did,” he said. “It would have been nice if the public let us get there rather than reacting the way they did.”
Fluter said there are benefits to having an RV resort in the community, including the long term financial benefits with the infrastructure costs the responsibility of the developer.
She said a recreational vehicle resort would also have less impact on the land environmentally than a dense subdivision.
“I think this could have been something really great for our community,” she said. “That said, I’m not feeling confident that this developer is reaching the level that I would like to see.
“We support the idea in principal but we don’t feel the developer demonstrated the due diligence we asked him to demonstrate.”