Mancos town board gives green light to long-delayed RV park

Saturday, July 14, 2018 9:47 AM
The original plan for the Riverwood RV Park.

On Wednesday the Mancos town board voted to approve an amended development agreement that will allow a long-delayed RV park to open before part of it are complete.

At its June 27 meeting, the board gave preliminary approval to an extension of its agreement with Riverwood RV Park, originally scheduled to open July 4, because its developer, Dugan McDonald, hadn’t yet fulfilled all the requirements listed in the original agreement. On Wednesday, Town Administrator Heather Alvarez said more of those requirements have been met, although the park’s clubhouse is still under construction. Despite the protests of trustees Cindy Simpson and Fred Brooks, who favored holding the developer to his original agreement, the board ultimately voted to allow the park to open before the clubhouse is complete.

Alvarez said McDonald has complied with town requests to plant more screening foliage around the park and have the sewer system inspected. He has also submitted a permit application for the park’s sign, which Alvarez said should be approved soon.

But the original development agreement specified that the clubhouse building must have a certificate of occupancy before the park could open, and McDonald said he doesn’t expect that to happen before the new Aug. 31 deadline. He asked the board for leniency on that point, saying the rest of the park is ready for visitors.

“We’re not asking for a CO on the building – we’re just asking for a CO on the park,” he said.

Mancos resident Tim Hunter spoke in McDonald’s support during the public comment part of discussion.

“I think they missed an opportunity in not allowing it to be open for the Fourth of July,” he said. “There’s been a big demand for RVs, and it could bring a lot of traffic and disposable income into town.”

The town’s development agreement with the park has been extended twice because of delays in meeting the requirements since it was first approved in March 2016. McDonald acknowledged some responsibility for those delays, but also said the town’s changing administration caused some confusion about what was expected of him.

Former Town Administrator Andrea Phillips and most of the trustees who were serving on the board in 2016 no longer work for the town.

Just like in the last meeting, Trustee Cindy Simpson remained adamant in her position that the park should not open until it meets all the requirements of the original development agreement.

“I’m of a mindset that people should be held to contracts that they sign,” she said. “The development agreement is a contract.”

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Brooks agreed with her, saying that amending the agreement again would send the wrong message to future developers.

But several other trustees said they believed removing the building requirement from the agreement would do no harm. Trustee Ed Hallam asked McDonald to put up a temporary fence around the clubhouse building during construction to keep out curious guests, but said he supported the amendment otherwise. Mayor Queenie Barz said she hoped the town’s ongoing land-use code amendment would prevent future confusion about new developments like Riverwood.

The amended agreement passed in a 3-3 vote, with trustees Betsy Harrison, Craig Benally and Brent McWhirter voting “yes.” Simpson and Brooks voted against it, Hallam abstained and Alvarez did not call on Barz for a vote.

The new agreement requires the park’s sign to be approved by Aug. 31, and the clubhouse to be inaccessible to the public until it receives a certificate of occupancy. The exterior of the building is nearly complete, McDonald said, and he expects the interior to be finished later this year.