Plans for the new Palisade Base Camp RV Resort drew a crowd to the January 9 meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission. Application was made by Keith Ehlers and Bart McElley, owners of the proposed Palisade Base Camp RV Park that was annexed into the Town limits in December of 2016, to designate the property as “Agriculture, Forestry, Transitional (AFT)” with regard to zoning. The property had previously been zoned AFT, however, it was the Mesa County designation of AFT, not the Town of Palisade designation. Although the designations (AFT) sound identical, the county’s definition of AFT zoning is slightly different than the town’s, so the legal change in zoning was requested as the property was annexed into the town limits. In addition to the zoning change, the owners of the proposed RV park also put in application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate an RV resort and campground on the site, located at 3891/3895 North River Road behind the Palisade Greenhouses. There is access to the Colorado River from the property.
Approximately a dozen neighbors of the proposed venture also attended the Monday night meeting to voice concerns about the project. While no one was completely opposed to the idea, a number of issues were raised and discussed at length.
Over 13 acres of the 18-acre property are to be developed into an RV park with approximately 90 campsites, a handful of cottages, a large communal restroom/shower/general store building and communal pet park, swimming/splash pool, and shade structure. One small section of the resort is designated with 13 ‘primitive camping’ sites, used for tent camping with minimal amenities. The area is to be located along the riverbank, with the rest of the resort elevated about 20 feet higher up the riverbank.
Since the property under discussion is bordered to the south by the Colorado River with access to the riverbank, issues such as wildlife corridors, use of motorized watercraft, foot traffic onto neighboring property including private orchards and vineyards, as well as the light, noise and traffic generated by such use were raised.
Jan Miller, 347 Troyer Avenue, spoke on behalf of many of the neighbors and expressed the above concerns along with the question of how to prevent the campground from becoming a ‘man-camp,’ a home for gas and oil workers that live out of campers or camp trailers.
Also heard was Bob Delavan, whose peach orchard borders the RV resort to the west. Delavan was primarily concerned with the primitive camping area, which directly abuts his property along the Colorado River. Since the primitive camping area is located about 400 feet downhill from the restroom/shower facility, Delavan is worried that campers might find it easier to use his property as a restroom in the middle of the night. There is also some concern with the coexistence of campers and wildlife, bears in particular, along the riverbank.
Scott and Theresa High, owners of the Colterris Winery and Tasting Room to the east of the proposed RV Park, also had some concern about the project. Although a fence separates the two properties, there is a footpath planned around the entire RV park that would take campers and bikers along the west border of the Colterris vineyard. The Highs are particularly worried about the possible introduction of the very contagious Phylloxera pest into the vineyard from shoes or bike tires of footpath users, knowing the probability that some people will innocently want a ‘closer look’ at the vineyard than that afforded by the footpath.
After more than two hours of discussion, listening to concerns of residents and hearing possible solutions from the property owner, Planning Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the zoning change, and voted 4 – 2 to recommend the CUP request. Both issues would come before the Board of Trustees for final approval the next evening, Tuesday, January 10. A detailed description of the proposed RV resort can be seen in the information packet available for the Trustee meeting of January 10 at http://www.townofpalisade.org.
Also considered at the January 9 meeting was a request to amend the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) held by Colorado Alternative Healthcare, 125 Peach Avenue. Owners of the business requested the change to allow for expansion of the ‘optional premises cultivation’ inside their current building. They were not requesting to grow additional plants, only to move the area used for cultivation to a part of the building recently vacated by another tenant. The recently vacated section of the building is already included in the state licensed premises. The expansion includes an area of 1,768 square feet, establishing use of the entire building by the Healthcare center.
Planning Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the change to the Board of Trustees. The hearing for final approval will be held at the January 24 meeting of the Board.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for Monday, February 6, at 6:00 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center, 341 W. 7th Street. All meetings are open to the public and agendas can be found on the town website at http://www.townofpalisade.org or posted at Town Hall at least 24 hours before each meeting.
In the interest of transparency, Betsy McLaughlin is also a member of the Planning Commission.