Listen to this post
MEEKER — Rio Blanco County commissioners Monday offered no immediate solutions to the plight of residents of Love’s RV Park, who are faced with having to move when the park’s permit expires at the end of July.
But while commissioners made no promises, they did say they were open to the possibility of coming up with a workable resolution. And that was enough for Ginny Love, who, along with her husband, Sam, owns the park.
Ginny Love and about 50 residents of the park, she estimated, showed up in force during the public portion of Monday’s meeting.
“I am relieved,” Love said after hearing what commissioners Forrest Nelson and Joe Collins had to say — commissioner Ken Parsons is on vacation. “I think we are going to be able to sit down and negotiate and come up with a decision that will work for everybody.”
A meeting between the Loves and county officials is set for Wednesday, said Love, who indicated she planned to file an official request for a temporary permit on Tuesday.
The two sides have been down this road before.
In 2005, the park — located four miles west of Meeker, just off of Highway 64 — was given the go-ahead by a former planner for Rio Blanco County. The commission then granted a temporary use permit for the park, despite a 5-0 “no” vote by the planning commission, advising against development of the park.
“The planning commission never gave us a reason,” Love said.
Now, the conclusion of a two-year conditional use permit is rapidly approaching. It is set to expire July 31.
“It was approved to be a temporary park,” said Commissioner Nelson. “There is nothing permanent about it.”
On that point, the commissioners and the Loves agree.
“For the record, we do not want it to remain a permanent park,” Ginny Love said. “When the workers are through with our park, we will tear it out just like we’ve always done.”
Commissioner Collins said this latest request put the county in an awkward position.
“I don’t know what you have heard … but there are other issues here with regard to compliance and other things,” Collins told the park residents. “This is a tough spot for us, and we’re not the bad guys. No matter what you think, we are sensitive to people’s needs.”
Those issues include compliance with state regulations and the feelings of residents of the nearby housing subdivision.
While Love said, “We’ve never had any problems with the state,” she acknowledged the septic system was an issue.
“The state’s only involvement is with the septic system,” she said. “We have what they call a pump-and-haul system. They (state officials) think the leach field is the way to go.”
Nelson said there should be a shared responsibility in the housing dilemma.
“We had hoped some of the big contractors would come forward and make something available for you guys,” he said. “Some of these companies you guys work for have a certain amount of responsibility to help us solve some of these problems.”
In addition to Ginny Love, who made an opening statement, several residents of the park also took a turn telling commissioners about the seriousness of the situation and how it would affect families.
“This was not a gripe session,” Love said. “We wanted to make them (the commissioners) aware there is a huge problem if this RV park closes.”
Karen Simon was one of the park residents who addressed the commissioners.
“There is not an RV park available within a 100 mile radius of Meeker to relocate and accommodate approximately 93 families that are currently living in the park,” said Simon, who moved her from Texas with her husband. “If this park is closed, it will create a terrible displacement of the families and a considerable hardship.”
Love said 93 of the park’s 96 spaces are rented, and she has a waiting list of 50 names.
“I quit taking names,” she said.
Love said residents the residents of the park are good people.
“In all the time they have been here, I have kicked only one person out,” she said. “They don’t come into the community to cause problems. They come in to do a job.”
The residents of Love’s RV Park, which sits on five lots in the Cross L Estates subdivision, are here because of the demand for workers in the pipeline industry; specifically, to help with the construction of Enterprise’s natural gas processing plant.
“Every single person is involved with the gas industry in some way,” Love said.
Chrissy Seebeck and her children came to Meeker from New Mexico. Her husband works on the pipeline.
“If this park closes, we may have to leave and go home,” Seebeck said. “May husband may be able to find a place just for him. But me and our children will have to go home, and we would be 17 hours away. It’s very hard to keep a family together like that.”
Seebeck not only wants to keep her family together, but she likes it here.
“We really like the area, it’s beautiful, and the people are very nice,” she said.
After listening to the residents’ comments, the commissioners gave no assurances — other than they would look at all of the issues.
“There’s more than one side to every story,” Nelson said. “You should know that.”
Asked by a resident if he thought a compromise could be reached if all of the compliance issues were sorted out, Nelson said it was a possibility.
“I know I’m not giving you any answers,” he said. “But I think it could happen.”