Rock Gardens RV park OK’d;residents to be shown door
Residents of Rock Gardens Mobile Home Park in No Name will need to find another place to live – but got a chance Monday to express their concerns over giving up their homes. Garfield County commissioners voted unanimously Monday afternoon to approve a development plan proposed by Rock Gardens’ owners, Kevin and Kathleen Schneider. The plan eliminates the existing mobile home park, which contains 11 owner-occupied mobile homes, and enhances the campground features of the Schneiders’ property.The Schneiders will need to give residents six months’ notice prior to converting those spaces to RV and camper use. Phase I of the development is planned for completion by November 2005, and Phase II is scheduled for completion by 2009. More than 15 people attended the commissioners’ public hearing, many to voice their concerns about the development – but not Lori Hogan, director of tourism and marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “I’m here to support the increase in RV sites,” she said. “When I heard about the new proposed development, I was very excited. The campgrounds in and around the Glenwood Springs area are limited. These new sites will help us keep dollars within the county.” However, residents and others expressed their concerns. At the top of the list was the loss of housing, followed by safety concerns for children and bike path users due to increased tourist traffic, and a loss of No Name’s quiet neighborhood charm.No Name resident Jack Real said he was most bothered over the affordable housing that would be lost to additional camping facilities.”We’re likely to lose 26 residents total,” he said. “Where are these people – these teachers, these police – going to live?”Tom Zieman of Catholic Charities reiterated Real’s concerns.”This loss of units means that these people will no longer be able to live in the Glenwood Springs area,” he said. “These are working-class folks we are going to lose as our neighbors.”Lisa Hayes, a preschool teacher who volunteers for several nonprofit organizations, has lived in her mobile home at Rock Gardens for almost 20 years. “I know we need growth and tourism, but we also need to support the residents,” she said. Zieman suggested some type of compensation for residents who own their trailers, since mobile homes past a certain age cannot be relocated.Commissioner Trési Houpt asked Zieman specifically what type of compensation he’d propose.”These residents own their mobile homes, which are worth nothing if they’re moved,” he said. “So, if you want to put a $40,000 price tag on a home, that’s what it’s worth. Otherwise, their homes are a total loss.”The new development allows for tent, cabin and RV camping, and eliminates the existing mobile home rental and camper spaces. Two permanent residential buildings will be allowed, as well as an administrative office building, bathhouses, a retail shop, storage facilities and a 2,500-square-foot community building. Prior to voting to approve the development, commissioners Houpt, John Martin and Larry McCown expressed how difficult it was to vote to displace homeowners – especially from affordable homes.”This has really raised a deeper discussion,” Houpt said. “It’s clear everybody needs to make a commitment to work on affordable housing together.”Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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