Craig OKs new RV park in Ridgeview subdivision |

Craig OKs new RV park in Ridgeview subdivision

This is an aerial site map for the Tunatua RV Park proposed in the Ridgeview subdivision. Craig City Council approved the developers’ site plan on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.
Courtesy photo

Craig City Council approved plans for a new RV park in Ridgeview subdivision that owners say will cater to tourists despite some concerns about traffic, long-term stays and the location of the park. 

Plans for the new RV park at the northeast corner of Wickes Avenue and Crescent Drive were presented to council Tuesday evening, Jan. 10, after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted on Dec. 19 to approve the site plan as presented. 

Marlin Eckhoff, the city building official, said the plan meets all city land-use codes, and the property has zoning approval to serve as an RV park. 

Council approved the plan 6-1 with a few conditions including adding a privacy fence, adjusting the landscaping and putting in a second service road access for emergencies or maintenance. Council member Tom Kleinschnitz cast the dissenting vote. 

The Tunatua RV Park is planned to be constructed in two phases in order to comply with Colorado Department of Transportation limitations on bringing additional traffic into the Ridgeview subdivision. Phase one will consist of 60 RV spaces, 12 tiny homes, a 5,490-square-foot welcome center, a patio with a pool, three bath houses with showers, a playground and a dog park. 

Brian Henrie, one of three developers partnering on the Tunatua RV Park, said the primary focus will be tourists and short-term stays. 

Council members were impressed with Tunatua’s design. Kleinschnitz agreed the design is professional and appealing, but he said the location is too close to the school and hopes something can be done to mitigate the interaction between the school and the park.  

Kleinschnitz also said he wishes the park were in another part of the city closer to the river, near the golf course and the new riverfront project going in next year. 

“I’m saying, ‘I wish,’” Kleinschnitz said. “I’ve used RV parks and something next to a highway is not as attractive as something that is closer to a natural feature like a river or a recreational area.” 

Henrie said that he too would prefer Tunatua was near the river, but there were several issues. The developers couldn’t find a suitable property that was for sale, and most local riverfront properties don’t have utilities running to them, and Henrie doesn’t want to place septic systems near the river.

“I also work as a city planning consultant,” Henrie explained. “The reason we picked this spot was there was already kind of a beacon out there that this (lot) had been approved as an RV park. That piqued our interest.”

Henrie said he’s worked with cities in the past to determine where and what kinds of developments are wanted, and how to forecast it by zoning those parcels appropriately. 

“You conceptually design the city, and that will attract the developers to the right parcels when they come available,” Henrie said. “And that’s exactly what happened here. (This parcel) once was designed as a park. We were looking for a park. We found that park, and that’s where we came to build it.”

The city building department sent a letter out to every property within 300 feet of the park, which is beyond what was required. Eckhoff reported that two adjacent businesses — Northwest Storage and New Creation Church — reached out with questions that were addressed in the site plans.

School safety and privacy

Jill Hafey, superintendent of Moffat County School District, brought up questions during public comment about the intended use of the RV park and how it will affect Ridgeview Elementary, which shares a western property line with the park.

Hafey said she is thinking about safety for the school, especially if the RV spaces could potentially be used for long-term stays to relieve local housing issues. 

City code limits short-term stays to 90 days, and Henrie said that Tunatua wouldn’t want to host longer stays than what the city allows. The average RV park stay is three days, and the local KOA reported an average of 8.5 days, according to Eckhoff.

“In this park, our first priority is short-term tourism, supporting hunts especially,” Henrie said. “In the wintertime, we may entertain some longer-term rentals, but they wouldn’t be permanent housing; they would be short-term.” 

The proposed plans did not include a privacy fence between the park and the school, which was part of Hafey’s concern. In response, Henrie said that Tunatua would be willing to do whatever is necessary to create a buffer between the park and the school, including building a 6 foot privacy fence on the north and west property lines.

Some aspects of the proposed plan exceed city land-use requirements with more bathrooms, larger site pads and 127 trees — 50 above the required number — that would also help create a buffer from surrounding properties.

Henrie, who described himself as an arborist and landscaper, said he wants to include as many trees as possible, though the number may decrease to accommodate the fence along the shared property line. 

Phase two may have a more considerable impact on the school, as it will build the park farther along the shared property line. While the owners would like to build the entire park in a single phase, CDOT would require substantial right-of-way improvements to U.S. Highway 40 for the full project. 

Kleinschnitz pointed out a primary concern is the lefthand turn onto Crescent Drive from eastbound U.S. Highway 40 traffic. City officials have been working with a former CDOT traffic engineer to explore ways of making road improvements to allow for future development in the Ridgeview area. 

Long-term stays and traffic 

Henrie said the RV park will have full-time managers to oversee the park during all times, as well as maintenance crews. Also, the 12 tiny homes are going to be owned by Tunatua and kept on-site as nightly Airbnb rentals. 

The concept plans for the tiny homes had not been fully reviewed prior to Tuesday’s approval of the overall site plan, so the city would need to approve plans prior to construction of the 12 units. 

“We want the architecture to obviously be beautiful,” Henrie said. “That’s one of the first impressions of our park, we want those to look really good to give the right impression from the highway.” 

He said Tunatua will be modeled after some of the more luxurious RV parks found in Utah, where one of the partners has developed existing parks geared toward middle to higher-end pricing. Eckhoff said that parks in this nightly price range tend to be too expensive for long-term stays. 

Henrie said that the park will have no problem asking disruptive patrons to leave, as unruly visitors would likely affect other guests at the park. 

The owners are also hoping the park can be utilized for community events or farmers markets during the slower seasons when the park isn’t packed full. Henrie said he’s not exactly sure what those events would look like, but that the developers want to do things like that for the community.

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