First Step Taken On Long Road To Rv Park

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The developers of a proposed RV park with horse boarding amenities had the first step in a long road approved by the county earlier this month.

Ray Pugel and Robert Randall want to create a 60-space RV park, Milk Ranch, in Pine, near the Ponderosa Market.

The two men went before the Gila County Planning and Zoning Commission July 15 with a zoning-change request to begin the process.

Currently the property is zoned for single-family residences. To develop the park, the property -- 6.42 acres -- needs to have transitional residential and trailer district zoning.

Explaining the proposal to the commission, Terry Smith, deputy director of the county development office, said the plans include space for tent camping, plus 36 cabins, along with 24 spaces for recreational vehicles. There will be horse boarding facilities, plus there are plans for a riding trail and arena.

"The staff has no objections," Smith said, adding the opposition from residents neighboring the property had been minimal. He said his office had only two letters of opposition and a couple of e-mails, and one of the letters and one of the e-mails was from the same individual.

Asked what needs to be considered when weighing a rezoning question, Smith said, "Look at the highest and best use of the property."

"We have gone through this RV park question numerous times and have found (in studies) the RV has far less impact on services than permanent residences," Commissioner Walt Smith said.

Questions from residents included concerns about fencing and other uses for the property, should the RV park development fail.

"Anything in the ordinance they're required to do must be complied with prior to approval," Walt Smith said. He explained the ordinance requires fencing, so the property must be fenced.

"The solution (for alternate uses) is to make an agreement that says if the property is not developed in a certain amount of time, it will revert to the existing zoning," Terry Smith said.

A question about water also came before the commission.

"My main concern is the water situation. With horses, you need at least 25 gallons per day per horse. They could use more water in a day than we use in a month," said Dan McKenny, who has a home near the property at issue. He said he also had concerns about dust control, the smell problem with horses and the noise factor.

"(Water) is something that other entities must resolve," Walt Smith said.

The commission unanimously agreed to recommend the Gila County Board of Supervisors approve the zoning change with the stipulation that if the development has not started in 24 months, the zoning revert to its current status.

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