Last night in a 3-2 decision, the City Council voted against the proposed luxury RV resort, Elite RV, at least for the time being.
This has been in the works since before April of last year when we first told you about it HERE. The project has been moving through the land management process and has appeared before the Planning Commission as well as the City Council several times.
It’s an exciting project because it is unlike any other RV resort in the area but represents a new and fast-growing category nationwide – that being a style of park catering specifically to high-end, luxury travelers. It’s also unique because it combines RV parking spaces along with ‘cottages’ that are also for short-term rental.
The developers have made many compromises and adjustments in this process. The Parks and Rec. Department had all of their questions answered or adjusted for. Same for the nearby airport. Open spaces and desert views have been addressed and answered with a view-shed study. The land management process has been followed, and the Charter has been amended to accommodate the project.
The economic benefits cited are many, ranging from the diversification of our tourism, new lease revenue for the city coffers, and the creation of construction jobs as well as forty-plus permanent jobs, to name a few. The park will also utilize the grey water we have in abundance from our wastewater pond. Not to mention that this would be a multi-million dollar investment geared around specifically promoting Boulder City as a destination to love.
Gary Baldwin, a long-time local Boulder City resident, is the CEO of the project, and talks extensively about that in a podcast from last fall, if you didn’t hear that on the Boulder City Podcast, HERE. Gary has always emphasized that he wants to utilize local businesses at the RV park wherever possible and focus on a high-end concierge experience to bring visitors into our downtown core. It also creates a proposed 200-person meeting space – something that is consistently in demand in BC. Our Chamber of Commerce has to send away organizations asking for such accommodations regularly because none are available here of that size.
Some concerns raised in the community are that the project circumvents our slow growth ordinance. According to Michael Mays, the Community Development Director, “The proposal from Elite RV is for short-term rentals, not residences. Any lease with the City would require that on-site occupancy be short-term only. RVs are not considered residential units (and do not require allotments), but the cabins will comply with the growth control ordinance just as any motel unit would.”
A few issues raised from the council members seemed a bit petty, frankly, to this observer. Baldwin was asked about possible noise complaints from visitors because of the planes coming and going. Which are clearly the responsibility of the RV park to deal with. Another concern was dogs getting onto the golf course, Again, that’s on their management to police, which are details. Rules and regs that the park will set up can all address these concerns, along with refinements in the overall design. It seems that some are missing the forest through the trees.
Several council members, Jorgensen and Walton, did not like the location, specifically one side of the proposed park that nestles up against the golf course. One portion of the RV Park is located in the ‘donut hole’ area of the Boulder Creek Golf Course. In that area, some of the parking spots are adjacent to four of the holes on the course, this is out of a total of twenty-seven on the entire course.
Cokie Booth recommended a thirty-day RFP (Request for Proposal) to air out any other potential uses for the proposed area to see what might be surfaced as valid ideas. The mayor noted that others would then have visibility on the backs of what has already been created by Elite RV.
City staff noted that the process would take more than thirty days. But again, with several council members opposed to the location entirely, the issue had no room to move. So, for now, it has failed without support for the current location even though it has been available for decades, with no other developer ever expressing interest in it.
Gary Baldwin says that he is “more than willing to meet with all the council members to see if there is a way to still move this project forward. It’s a total win-win for the city, and after a year and a half of working on this, we are obviously disappointed, but plan to still see what options remain.”
A person with vision is rare. It’s a precious thing that, when possessed, needs to be nurtured like the beginnings of a campfire. But it takes something bold to ignite it. Vision in Boulder City has a history and has helped our town many times. Such as former Mayor Eric Lundgaard, who envisioned the purchase of the Eldorado Valley land, which gives us the solar lease revenue that keeps our property taxes so low. Someone had a vision for the airport, good thing, because it certainly wasn’t needed given our proximity to Las Vegas. But one was built, and it is now the seat of our tourism base. The RDA fund – thank goodness for that, as our downtown would look much different without those infrastructure funds (paid for by our businesses in the district). Hoover Dam – the colossus that created us – that took vision. The development of Bootleg Canyon – someone envisioned that as well. Our golf courses – certainly a luxury and not a necessity. The River Mountain Trail – good for bike riders. The creation of the National Recreation Area at the shores of this mammoth Lake Mead – that was also once just someone’s good idea.
We’ve not researched it but will bet you all that for every one of those projects above, someone opposed them. Someone would have wanted them ‘somewhere else’ – not in my backyard. We don’t need xxx! I wouldn’t want to miss my favorite tee time.
Gary Baldwin and his team have that vision, that spark. We will watch and keep you posted as discussions continue.