A proposal for a new 180-space RV park on Florida Mesa has residents concerned the development will compromise the rural character of the area and create traffic hazards.
According to county records, the project – the Salt Creek Valley RV Resort – would create a 180-lot “luxury recreational vehicle park resort” on 164 acres at 2645 County Road 510, south of U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Bayfield.
Dan Murphy, a La Plata County planner, said a virtual meeting with the developer and residents in the area held earlier this month drew nearly 50 people who were “overwhelmingly in opposition of the project.”
Many residents took issue with the fact that the proposed RV park is not in line with the surrounding character of the area, which is predominately agricultural and large-lot residential homes.
Steve Swisher, president of the El Rancho Florida Metro District, a subdivision that borders the site in question to the west, said the large-scale commercial development is not compatible with the area.
“It’s a very slow-moving, very tranquil neighborhood,” he said. “It would both compromise as well as alter the rural-residential character of the entire area.”
Swisher said residents are also concerned about increased traffic taxing county roads.
According to the developer’s site plan, the RV park would generate nearly 740 trips a day.
Swisher said that much of an increase in traffic is untenable to both County Road 510 as well as County Road 225A, which would be the access road off Highway 160 that’s already dangerous as it is.
“Add more than 700 vehicles ... and it’s a recipe for increased danger,” he said.
There are two homeowners associations in the region for the El Rancho Florida and Sundance Hills subdivisions. Representatives with Sundance Hills did not return calls seeking comment.
The property is owned by Linda Palmer Essex, who lives in Prescott, Arizona. It is listed for sale with the Wells Group for $820,000.
According to county records, the developer is Durango-based Detour Management Group, which has no listed representatives for the company either in county records or registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
The land agent company guiding the project through the county process is Durango-based Southwest Land Services.
Southwest Land Services owner and president Brian Kimmel declined to say who is behind Detour Management Group, other than it is run by two men, one of whom is a La Plata County resident.
Kimmel also declined to address specific concerns. But, he said with the current COVID-19 pandemic causing many people to not fly and instead take to the road, many times in RVs, the project is in demand.
“We think it’s a viable idea,” he said.
La Plata County planning staff members are conducting a compliance review of the project, which requires a Class 2 permit.
Planning staff members will determine a recommendation whether to approve or deny the project, and then it will go before the Planning Commission for a formal vote. There was no set date for the meeting as of Friday.
If approved, the developer is proposing to build the RV park in three phases, Murphy said.
According to county records, the RV park would have several amenities, such as a 2,400-square-foot office and a 4,600-square-foot clubhouse. The resort would operate year-round with staff members enforcing quiet hours, the developer said.
Swisher said the 164-acre property was historically used for agriculture, and is mostly vacant save for a few structures.
“We have no problem with development of the property,” he said. “But it needs to be a consistent development of what is surrounding within the area.”