Men with a plan

Planning Commission gives guidance on Copperline campsites, finalizesTrivest zone change

 


The Saratoga Planning Commission are six laymen armed with three-hundred page binders and charged with a daunting task. With about five members of the public attending their Oct. 11 meeting, the commission continued to grapple with questions of how to order organic growth and impartially direct development.

Camping at Copperline Lodge, redefining the town influence area, finalizing a zone-change application from Trivest Enterprises and other repeat issues took up much of the docket.

Copperline Lodge owner Dan Pont left the meeting with a clearer path forward to realizing his plan to establish a camping facility outside his hotel. Pont hopes to have his campsites ready by next summer, but questions about how the business would fit into town ordinances have stalled construction to this point.

Pont said he plans to operate 12 camping sites between 4th street and 5th Street on Rochester Avenue. The area is directly adjacent to his hotel, and he hopes some camping guests will decide to rent rooms from him after camping for a few days. Plans Pont has presented to the commission include a service building, a slop sink, three propane grills, a pergola and an irrigation system for grass at the proposed campsite.


The zoning issue at the heart of Pont’s multiple appearances at the commission is whether Copperline Lodge’s RD6000 designation allows for such activity. “The tent situation is really not addressed directly in our code anywhere,” commission chair Rory Grubb said at the beginning of discussion.

As he suggested at a September meeting, commission member Will Faust said tent-camping could be allowable under a mobile home park clause of the town code. Local resident Andy Van Tol objected that he didn’t feel Pont’s lodge fit the mobile home park definition in the code and asked, “Would it be possible to redefine mobile home park for his purposes?”

“Yeah, in six months,” Faust replied, a reference to how time-consuming and costly a rewrite would be. “If we’re going to go changing ordinances, we have more important things to focus on. That’s my opinion,” he continued.

This isn’t a mobile home park,” Faust conceded, “but this is how we can allow Mr. Pont to move forward.”

Fellow commission member Karl Smith agreed the camping facility could be classified as a mobile home park, but that each site would have to be 900 square feet, per the code.

“How do you feel about delineating your sites as 900 square feet and then have an allowable occupancy of three tents per site? Could you do that for us?” Smith asked.

Pont agreed to the workaround, and said he will apply for a mobile home permit at a cost of $140. No further zone-change, variance, or special use permit will be required for Pont to move forward, the commission indicated.

The commission also gave the green light to two other longstanding applications. Developer Trivest Enterprises was given final approval for a zone change near the airport on the south side of Saratoga. Grubb recused himself from the chair for that decision, which will rezone the lots from RD7200 to RD9002, allowing Grubb’s Trivest to build townhouses on the parcel.

The commission likewise voted to approve a special use permit for a new daycare center on Chatterton Drive.

Much of the rest of the meeting was devoted to discussing a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Town of Saratoga and Carbon County. The MOU would reset the boundaries of Saratoga’s “area of influence,” where municipal codes can be enforced outside of town limits.

As described by county planner Sid Fox, the newly-drawn lines would be less arbitrary and would only impact administrative authority. Administrative authority is concerned with issues such as sub-division law, zoning and nuisance code enforcement, as opposed to taxation and ambulance service, which would not be affected, Fox said.

“(County commissioners) definitely want more information (about the new area of influence), but I think conceptually they’re OK,” Fox told the planners.

The next meeting of the Saratoga Planning Commission will be 5:30 p.m., Nov. 8 in the town hall building.

 

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