RV park likely to open in May, CA official says

February 11, 1997|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

A controversial recreational vehicle park planned for an east Columbia industrial area will come up for final budget approval before the end of the month and likely will begin operation May 1, a Columbia Association (CA) official said yesterday.

The 2 1/2 -acre park, off Robert Fulton Drive near the Snowden Square shopping center, will have 208 spaces for recreational vehicles and boats, 24 spaces for canoes and six mini-storage containers, said Pam Mack, a spokeswoman for CA.

A deal for the park's land between the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer, and CA generated controversy in 1995 partly because the parcel is within an area that was contaminated by toxic materials in a former manufacturing park. A CA consultant concluded that using the site as an RV storage park posed minimal public health risks.

Some residents also objected to the terms of the land deal between Rouse and CA, saying that it indicated a cozy relationship between the two entities.

CA bought the land -- just under 5 acres, half of which will be used for the RV park -- for $1 million. In exchange, Rouse agreed to subject the Snowden Square retail center and adjacent undeveloped residential land to CA's annual property lien, raising questions why that acreage had not originally been subject to the lien.

Additionally, some RVs owners fought the project for about two years, saying they don't want to pay extra fees to store their vehicles off their properties -- which they are required to do by Columbia's homeowner covenants.

Those covenants prohibit residents from parking oversized vehicles or boats in their driveways or on the streets. But some people said that CA -- the large homeowners association that governs the town -- should provide a free alternative for RV owners because residents already pay lien fees to CA.

Homeowners are not fined for parking their RVs or boats in front of their homes, but they receive covenant violation notices, which are placed on their property.

Fees for the RV park have not been set, Mack said, but CA officials had said that parking fees would range from $120 to $960 a year. Eight RV owners have put their names on a list for spaces.

Construction of the park, which was approved in the fiscal year 1996 budget, will cost about $350,000.

The park will be fenced and monitored by cameras and an after-hours security guard. Renters will have access via an electronic gate.

Pub Date: 2/11/97

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