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Planning panel OKs plat for Pelican RV park

After a thorough two-hour session Thursday, the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission approved the preliminary plat of the River Hills RV Park.

The 130-unit planned unit development will be a cooperative for RV owners to purchase into the association. Community Development Director Larry Remmen read a long list of requirements the developer, Patrick Onstad, has met over the last year.

"We're getting there," Tera Guetter, Pelican River Watershed District administrator agreed.

Each site will have a 40-by-20 space for an RV, parking and deck if wanted. The RVs in the park are required to be not older than eight years when entering the park and not more than 15 years old before they need replacing.

Henry VanOffelen, Minnesota Center for Lakeshore Advocacy, raised the issue of no practical open, usable space.

"This is a regressive design that will not benefit this community," he said.

Of the 42.5 acres of the project, 60 percent is open space, with 36.7 percent of that being usable space. Highway 59, the railroad tracks and the golf course, which will remain open to the public, buffer the development from other housing developments.

The parking spaces for RVs are proposed to be grass.

"Even if they aren't graveled at the time of development, let's not kid ourselves, they will be eventually," VanOffelen said.

Scott Walz, Meadowland Surveying, spoke on Onstad's behalf to say he plans to keep as much grass as possible to be able to mow and keep the area looking well kept.

Guetter said the watershed district approved the easement documents Wednesday afternoon, and that her main concern was that there are no additional buildings on the site in the future.

"One hundred and thirty owners can get a lot of ideas," she said.

Others expressed their concern for more density in the future. Onstad said it's impossible because with the tier system on the lakes and rivers, 130 is the maximum amount he could have.

He added, after Attorney Patrick Kenney, representing Lake View Township, brought it up, a portion of the golf course is included in the PUD. The public won't use that piece of land, so a few holes of the public course will be redrawn. It will remain a nine-hole course.

Planning commission member Harry Johnston asked Kenney what the township's objection was to the development, which Kenney replied is density and the affect it will have on the lakes downstream.

Member Duane Erickson said Onstad has done everything all the involved entities have asked of him.

"We need to do something rather than making more hoops," he said.

The group voted unanimously to approve the preliminary plans.

Also approved at the meeting:

• A variance to allow outside sales and displays at Minnesota Warehouse Furniture. Owner Trevor Roisum said he plans to sell outdoor furniture, planters, gazebos, etc. in the space.

• A variance to Menards for a warehouse setback and open soffit on the warehouse. Remmen said the public wouldn't see the warehouse back behind the Menards store, so it wouldn't look bad.

A representative from Menards said once ground is broken, conservatively, it will take 12 months for the store to open, although he's hoping for 10 months. This will be a 2007 store, he said.