Expansion Underway on Bella Terra’s Resort

July 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Expansion Underway on Bella Terra’s Resort 

Representatives from Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC announced today (July 5) that construction is underway on the final phase of their resort in Gulf Shores, Ala.

As the final phase of their flagship property, they are finishing the project with an exciting twist. Owners will have an opportunity to custom design their lot prior to construction and take advantage of several unique design opportunities, according to a news release.

The final release includes the much sought after lakefront Coach Estate and wooded Terraced lots. Regardless of lot location, each lot is perfectly situated in a resort recognized by Good Sam Club, Woodall’s and Best Parks in America as one of the top five Class A RV resorts in the United States. The property continues to garner perfect scores and boasts a 97% overall customer satisfaction rating.

Completion of the final phase and delivery of lots is scheduled for September of this year.

“Today is a special and exciting day for us,” said Chuck Smith, president of Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC. “I remember standing about 20 yards from this very spot when we first broke ground. The past few years have delivered a beautiful new resort, but more importantly to me and my partners, is that we have made many wonderful new relationships with owners and guests here at Bella Terra.”

Each of the remaining 65 oversized sites comes landscaped and can be customized to include coach houses, gazebos, outdoor kitchens and much more. Contracts signed during the next few months of construction will include a credit toward lot upgrades as well as a choice of other exciting incentives. Prospective owners are encouraged to contact Bella Terra for specific details.

To view construction photographs and learn more about Bella Terra of Gulf Shores visit:



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Texas RV Park Developer Fights Three Issues

April 28, 2011 by · Comments Off on Texas RV Park Developer Fights Three Issues 

Between Kleberg Park and the Stone Brook neighborhood in Kingsville, Texas, lies a patch of land that’s the source of a three-fold problem.

Frederick Bigelow says a developer plans to put an RV resort in the empty lot that lies between his neighborhood and Kleberg park, KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi, reported.

But Bigelow says his home value is not the issue. To build the RV park on the lot, the city would have to rezone the land for commercial property. It’s something Bigelow doesn’t want to see happen. “If the RV park goes away, it could be one of a multitude of different activities that could be sitting here right on the border of our park,” he said.

The park itself is the second issue. Bigelow fears the RV park would bring criminal activity to the area putting his grandchildren and others in danger. “Kids play here spring, summer, and fall from morning noon and night and you can’t keep your hand on your kid all the time,” Bigelow explained. Residents of the RV park would also get their own entrance to Kleberg Park which is causing some safety concerns for park goers.

The third problem is on Highway 77. The RV park would require an extra-wide entry lane so motorhomes can accelerate and get onto the highway safely, but Bigelow sees the safety lane doing more harm than good. “We would like to see an RV park in Kingsville, but at another location that has easy access, does not impact our park, doesn’t impact us,” said Bigelow.

People and businesses against the RV park have signed a petition that will be presented to the county and city comissioners who have yet to decide if they’ll approve the changes.

The county commissioners should be deciding whether to add that entry lane at their next meeting. Then it’s up to the city commissioners to decide if they’ll rezone the land.

Kingsville has a population of more than 25,000. It was founded in 1904 and named after Richard King, the owner of King Ranch.

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Alabama Racing Complex/RV Park Project Dead

March 16, 2011 by · Comments Off on Alabama Racing Complex/RV Park Project Dead 

The city of Saraland, Ala., has ended its contract with Gulf Coast Entertainment, which had plans to build a $640 million auto racing complex in the town, the Birmingham Business Journal reported.

According to the Mobile Press-Register, the town is still negotiating with the developer, but city leaders said they had an opportunity to end the 23-year contract and chose to take it.

Under the proposal, Saraland would have annexed approximately 800 acres near Alabama 158 and Interstate 65 to be used as an RV park and campground for the facility, which never came to fruition.

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Gulf Coast Community Seeking RV Park Limit

March 4, 2011 by · Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Seeking RV Park Limit 

Click here to watch a video on the following story, courtesy of WJHG-TV, Panama City Beach, Fla.

Gulf County Commissioners in Florida’s panhandle are taking steps to make sure RV parks are being used for their intended purpose. They’re trying to prevent people turning the temporary accommodations into permanent residences, especially along the beach front.

Gulf County Commissioners put a moratorium on Rvs in the tourist corridor; which runs the length of highway 98 from the Bay to Franklin County lines. It also includes 30-A, all of Cape San Blas Road and Indian Pass Road. They’re concerned about the areas becoming eyesores, but that’s not the only consideration.

“We think there are environmental damages from grey water from storm surge, those different kind of issues, so there are a lot of moving parts,” said Bill Williams.

The moratorium would not affect homeowners, who park their RVs in their yard.

“I would support an individual with a structure and a home that they personally own putting it there because that’s their property, so it’s different for residential type control their property verses residential use,” said Williams.

Newschannel 7 spoke to some residents who say they don’t see a problem with having more than one RV located on a piece of property.

Commissioners say they will be sympathetic toward people who already live in the RV parks.

“If an individual had an RV there and was living in that, we would certainly be empathetic and sympathetic to that because we’ve made this decision today and we don’t want to retrospectively do it, but we do want to stop any future utilization of that beach front,” said Williams.

The county’s planning and development review board will develop more recommendations for later discussion.

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Work Begins on $280M Kansas Casino/RV Park

February 25, 2011 by · Comments Off on Work Begins on $280M Kansas Casino/RV Park 

Peninsula Gaming, one of the fastest growing casino and entertainment companies in the United States, announced Thursday (Feb. 24) that site preparation has begun on its $280 million casino and entertainment center located Mulvane, Kan., the Wellington Daily News reported

The Kansas Star Casino and Entertainment Center, which will span 170 acres in Sumner County south of Wichita will include a world-class gaming facility, restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot indoor equestrian arena, two hotels, retail shops and an RV park. The project will create about 1,440 operational jobs and 1,640 construction jobs.

“This week marks the beginning of a robust construction timeline that culminates with a grand opening next February,” said Scott Cooper, general manager, Kansas Star. “In addition to the $25 million license fee we paid the state of Kansas, we’ve also spent more than $10 million preparing to break ground, and we are excited that this vision will now become a reality.”

An interim gaming facility will open in early 2012 with the permanent gaming facility and 150-room hotel completed in January 2013. Peninsula Gaming plans to expand the facility again in January 2015 with an additional 150 hotel rooms and additional gaming facilities.

Last year, the state of Kansas chose Peninsula Gaming to operate the state-owned project, marking the company’s first casino in the state of Kansas. Its four other casino properties are located in Iowa and Louisiana and include: Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa; Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Opelousas, La.; Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa; and Amelia Belle Casino in Amelia, La.

“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for,” said Mulvane Mayor Jim Ford. “The advantages that Kansas Star will provide to our community are already apparent. The Kansas Star’s impact will allow us to do so many things in the future that would otherwise not be possible. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Peninsula Gaming so far and I look forward to continuing that partnership. It’s been beneficial to everybody.”

“This project is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” stated Janis Hellard, Sumner County Economic Development Director. “Very few projects ever generate this much capital investment or create this many job opportunities. The Peninsula project does not end with the building of the casino – the equestrian center, additional shopping, and the impact on local companies who will be vendors etc.; this project is unlike any other in the additional opportunities it brings with it.”

More than 1,000 Kansans – 800 from Sedgwick County – have submitted job applications. More than 200 businesses in Sedgwick County have signed up to do business with The Kansas Star, which is projected to create 1,440 operational jobs and 1,640 construction jobs.

“It’s a great time for a construction project of this magnitude to get started in our region”, said Tim Norton, Sedgwick County Commissioner. “The Kansas Star project will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the MSA economy from the construction jobs and activity, through purchasing from preferred local vendors and the creation of much needed sustainable jobs for Sedgwick County.”

For more information on the Kansas Star Casino and Entertainment Center, visit

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Florida Panhandle Eyeing Motorcoach Resort

January 18, 2011 by · Comments Off on Florida Panhandle Eyeing Motorcoach Resort 

Click here to watch a video on the following story, courtesy of WEAR-TV, Pensacola, Fla.

A waterfront RV park could be coming to Okaloosa Island in Florida’s panhandle.

Developer Tripp Tolbert wants to attract motorcoaches to the resort.

Turning a piece of Bayside property across from the Ramada Beach Resort into a luxury RV park sounds great to RV broker Keith Chappell.

“These type of campgrounds are springing up all over the country,” Chappell said.

Chappell says many of them allow only high-end coaches, restricting rentals by the classification of RV.

He believes it would be a huge economic boost, and not just for his industry.

“But it’s also going to bring a lot more people into the area that’s going to eat at our restaurants, that’s going to buy fuel here, that’s going to support the entire community,” he continued.

If commissioners want to green-light the plan, they’ll have to make an exception to a 50-year-old rule against temporary structures on Okaloosa Island.

Developer Tolbert was quoted in 2009 as saying, “I think the intent of this covenant was to keep Okaloosa Island from having a trailer park. And I reassure you that’s not my intentions”

Despite the developer’s assurances, some neighbors say the jury’s still out.

Clyde Roquemore said, “I think it could be an asset, as far as the revenue. I’d like to know a little bit more about how the camp, the RV units is going to be set up itself, you know, what’s it going to look like”

Tolbert makes his pitch to county commissioners today (Jan. 18).

The developer has met several times with Okaloosa Island residents while putting the proposal together.

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Bella Terra Resort Putting Oil Spill Behind It

December 15, 2010 by · Comments Off on Bella Terra Resort Putting Oil Spill Behind It 

Bella Terra RV Resort of Foley, Ala., has opened the second phase of its resort community. The expansion adds 23 additional lots to the existing 110 lots, according to a news release.
“Today represents a momentous occasion for both Bella Terra of Gulf Shores and the Gulf Coast community given all that we have faced the past year,” said Chuck Smith, president of Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC, an RV resort management and development company based in Orange Beach, Ala. “Our resort has been hit hard financially with occupancy rates down over 50% since the BP oil spill; however, our employees along with Bella Terra’s owners and guests are optimistic as we approach 2011.”

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is a gated luxury Class A motorcoach community and the flagship resort developed by Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC, a resort management and development company that caters to the RV community. The 40-acre resort features a nine-acre centerpiece lake.

Its amenities include a welcome center, 6,000-square-foot clubhouse, resort style infinity edge pool and jacuzzi, fitness center, media room, business center, walking trails and croquet court. The resort offers both full ownership opportunities as well as a rental program. More information is available at

The lake at Bella Terra RV Resort, Foley, Ala.

The lake at Bella Terra RV Resort, Foley, Ala.

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Florida Motorcoach Park Shelved Indefinitely

December 14, 2010 by · Comments Off on Florida Motorcoach Park Shelved Indefinitely 

Developers of a planned Class A motorhome RV park along Back Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Fla., withdrew their application Monday (Dec. 13) after a large and raucous crowd of irate residents living near the proposed site packed a city planning board meeting.

Because the proposal technically can come before the planning board again after a wait of three months, the decision didn’t soothe many members of a crowd of more than 120 people who packed into the a meeting room at City Hall, The Walton Sun reported.

“This is a subterfuge because of the large crowd,” resident Ronald Mitchell said of the withdrawal. “It’s a wearing-down process.”

As many as 30 people could not get inside the room where a city fire marshal was monitoring the count of the standing-room-only crowd.

Planning board members first denied a request by Robert Carroll, representing property owner Nashyork in the development, to delay consideration of the proposal until he could meet with nearby neighborhoods to explain plans for a “high-end motor coach resort.”

After the delay was voted down, Carroll, vice president of McNeil Carroll Engineering, withdrew the application. Following the meeting, he said it was unclear what the next step would be, although he seemed to keep the door open a crack for any re-application.

“The citizens have spoken regarding an RV park,” Carroll said. “But that is not what we are proposing.”

The planning board was considering an application to change original plans that called for condos and townhomes on 14 1/2 acres first proposed four years ago. Carroll told board members Monday that “the market took a downturn” and the landowners wanted to move with the times.

“The market is just not there for townhomes,” he said. “They (property owners) have put a lot of money in the ground and are still paying property taxes. They would like to do something for their investment.”

Planning board chairman Paul Turner took note of the crowd when he asked for public comments on granting the delay, or continuance.

“I’m sure the churches would like to have this kind of turnout on Sunday morning,” he quipped.

To loud applause and shouts of “yeah,” resident Lubomyr (Luby) Woroch said developers could have met with residents already and only wanted a delay until the hubbub died down.

Residents made their displeasure known by showing up at Monday’s meeting, Woroch said, “and now he (Carroll) doesn’t want to play the game.” He presented a petition with 450 signatures from residents upset about the motor coach park. If the plan comes around again, “we will have more than a 1,000,” he said.

When resident Nichole Hopkins asked for a raise of hands for those opposing any delay in planning board members voting on the application, every crowd member but one raised a hand.

“This is the oldest trick in the book,” Mitchell said of Carroll’s actions. “They want to wear us down.”

The new designs called for 101 lots on 14 1/2 acres, with each lot having a 250-square-foot “accessory cabana,” which landowning company Nashyork wanted recognized as living space.

The new proposal had to be endorsed by the planning board because it was a deviation from the property’s master plan approved four years ago just prior to a groundbreaking ceremony attended by county music star Alan Jackson, who had said he planned to own a townhome there.

Both the city and county planning departments have written memos expressing concerns about the new scheme.

“I think the planning board did all they could do,” resident Adrian Warren said following the meeting. “I’m all for a person’s property rights. They (Nashyork) have a right to request a change, but the people have a right to speak.”

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Florida Motorcoach Plan Facing Tough Road

December 13, 2010 by · Comments Off on Florida Motorcoach Plan Facing Tough Road 

Today’s (Dec. 13) planning board meeting could see one of the largest crowds of irate citizens ever to descend on city hall in Panama City, Fla., city officials said.

Residents near a proposed high-end motorcoach resort along Back Beach Road are opposing a change in development plans that single-family homeowners insist will result in noise and activity that is not compatible with the area, the Panama City News Herald reported.

City and county planning departments, as well as heavyweight land developer The St. Joe Co., also have expressed concerns about the controversial RV park that was once planned as the site of high-end condos with ties to country music star Alan Jackson.

In an added twist to the new property designs, the father of a member of the city’s planning board owns vacant land adjacent to the proposed park. Because of the possible conflict of interest, planning board Vice Chairman Del Lee will have to recuse himself from the meeting to determine whether the land-use change will be granted, city Planning and Building Director Mel Leonard said. Lee could not be reached for comment.

Calming fears

Robert Carroll, vice president of McNeil Carroll Engineering, which is representing developer Nashyork LLC in the change of plans, has sent out a letter to nearby residents hoping to calm the fears.

Carroll writes that the park will “only allow Class A motorcoaches within the property. Towable RVs are not allowed on the property.

But in a letter to the city dated Dec. 1, Bay County Planning Director Martin J. Jacobson said he was troubled the development plans seemed inconsistent with the county’s single-family residences to the south and west of the site. He also worried whether the park would place too high a burden on Back Beach Road traffic.

“We question whether the project meets the test of providing sufficient public benefit to allow for a deviation from the city’s regulations,” Jacobson wrote. He concluded in his letter that he “assumed” the change request would be seen as a “substantial deviation” from previous plans.

Echoing some of the same concerns, a staff report by the city planning department questions whether the combination of a motorcoach and a 250-square-foot permanent “casita” on each lot meets the city’s size-and-use requirement for an area zoned single-family residential.

“Activities customary to RV camping include but are not limited to: campfires, outdoor activities possibly involving music/television, and late-night/early morning arrivals possibly with back-up alarms,” the staff report states.

Leonard said the park would function basically as a campground, with vacationers staying outdoors and all the noise that entails. Plans call for 101 lots on 14.5 acres, with each lot having a 250-square-foot “accessory cabana,” which landowning company Nashyork wants recognized as living space.

The new scheme must be approved by the planning board because it is a deviation from the property’s original master plan submitted four years ago just prior to a much-ballyhooed ground-breaking attended by Jackson.

Left the barn

In a letter dated Dec. 7 and hand-delivered to Leonard, Carroll requested a delay in the planning board meeting so he could meet with nearby residents to soothe their alarm.

“Due to the amount of inquiries from the neighbors, we have decided that it would be more beneficial to hold a neighborhood meeting prior to having a public hearing to discuss the proposed project,” Carroll writes.

But Leonard said that horse already left the barn.

“He doesn’t have the power to postpone it,” Leonard said. “All he can do at this point is withdraw the application.”

Leonard said Carroll can come to the meeting and request a delay, but planning board members must make that decision. “Oh yes, the meeting will take place,” Leonard said.

The 14.5 acres for the RV park is the largest parcel of a 18.9-acre, three-lot bundle included in the original plans, with the two other lots designated for professional and business use, one of which is partly owned by Del Lee’s father, T.E. “Bo” Lee, with the other owned by The Bank of Bonifay.

T.E. Lee said he thought the addition of a high-end motor coach park would add value to the area.

“I think it would be an asset to the community,” Lee said. “I think it’s going to be a coming trend, these high-end motor coaches. I’ve seen some of these parks, and they are beautiful.”

The 1.5 acres Lee represents lies just east of the proposed RV park and is now vacant, Lee said, noting it is also up for sale. Leonard said the three parcels in the total 18.9 acres are tied together in a master plan calling for residential, open spaces, and professional and business uses.

Leonard said officials with St. Joe, a large Panhandle land development company that donated the land for the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, also have expressed doubts about the new proposal and will attend the Dec. 13 planning board meeting.

St. Joe plans to enter written comments into the public record so the company will have standing in any later court proceedings, Leonard said.

“I suggest you get here early,” Leonard said of the 2 p.m. meeting, where he said a crowd of 100 to 200 is expected. The issue of the RV park is the only item on the agenda, he said.

City Manager Richard Jackson said that in his memory, the largest crowd ever to come to a meeting at city hall numbered about 150. “And that was years ago,” he said.

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Senior RVer Seeking Pepsi Grant for RV Park

November 10, 2010 by · Comments Off on Senior RVer Seeking Pepsi Grant for RV Park 

Edee Wolfenberger, a 75-year-old RV resident at the KOA campground in Rusk, Texas, is trying to make a dream come true. She has applied for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to construct an RV park for permanent senior citizen residents, The Cherokeean Herald reported.

“My dream is to build a real life village for seniors. There will be no ‘big-box warehouse’ for us,’” she said. She refers to assisted living facilities as “big box warehouses.” Already she has found an attorney who will help with the legal work and make application for a tax-exempt status.

“Our plans are to purchase enough property for RV residents to move in. Many of the lots will include a place to permanently park an RV in an attached facility with another room to the side. We will have a place for a community garden, an activity room and cabins for folks who do not have RVs. Also, persons owning mobile homes are invited to move those homes into the park.

“While working with Adult Protective Services, I saw firsthand how seniors were living and realized they were pretty much isolated from society and all too often from their families. The only thing available was the senior center which entertained them for a short time. If they didn’t have money, they were not able to take advantage of trips or other things offered. They seemed to be slowly dying in their homes. It is really sad and can be changed so easily. Now that I am living alone, I realize personally the problems involved. Also, I have found even married folks often have a mate who is minimized by illness. This leaves the healthier one alone with someone to care for or at least life defined by the ill mate.

“We have found that people do not do well living alone. They do much better living in small community groups and sharing with those around them,” Wolfenberger said.

She envisions RV residents living on the grounds and volunteering at various places in the community. They could participate in after-school tutoring, sponsor foster children, work in the community gardens and raise chickens, she suggested.

“An activity building is being planned and a dorm facility will be constructed on the second floor of that building. College students, who are studying the effect of growing old, will give them an opportunity to spend time with senior citizens. I would like to sponsor a homeless family and help them get back on their feet,” she said. Also, she plans to sponsor a congressional program for youth. This is similar to the Eagle Scout program and students earn brass, silver and gold medals, Wolfenberger said.

Wolfenberger is originally from Flagstaff, Ariz. She has been in Texas for two years and has grandchildren living in the Carrollton area.

“I needed a place to park my RV and ended up here. I was looking for a county to establish a village and Cherokee County seemed to be that place,” she said.

The Pepsi Refresh grant program gives away more than $1 million each month. Wolfenberger is asking that Rusk area citizens work together to win a Pepsi grant. “Someone is going to win, so why not us?” she asked. She invites everyone in the community to go to the website www.refresheverything. com/helpourseniors and cast a vote every day. The numbers count in determining who will win the $250,000.

“Your involvement will make a difference,” she said.

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High-End Florida RV Park Site Prices Resilient

October 4, 2010 by · Comments Off on High-End Florida RV Park Site Prices Resilient 

Typical site at Chassa Oaks RV Resort

Typical site at Chassa Oaks RV Resort

For years, housing prices have taken a beating in Florida as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, recession-induced job losses and record numbers of foreclosures.

But while prices for site-built homes and condominiums have fallen by 40% or more in many locations, prices for sites at some of Florida’s newer and higher-end RV parks and resorts have fallen by less than half that amount, according to a news release from several Florida developers.

In some cases, they haven’t fallen at all.

Jim Eyster, who recently developed Chassas Oaks RV Resort in Homosassa, said prices for sites at some of the more upscale RV resorts are holding their own partly as a result of the continuing shortage of high-quality RV parks and resorts that sell their sites in Florida.

“There was never a big building boom of RV sites during the heyday of the real estate boom,” Eyster said.

Bill Harvey, who developed Silver Palms RV Village in Okeechobee, also believes that the relative shortage of high quality RV resorts in sought-after destinations is helping to keep RV site prices steady. “I have seen little if any price reduction in RV resorts that have sites for under $75,000,” he said, adding, “Silver Palms has not lowered our prices at all over the past two years, and I do not intend to.”

While Florida continues to have an abundance of RV parks, more than half of them were built 30 or more years ago and cannot easily accommodate today’s larger, more luxurious RVs or the people who invest in them.

These larger RVs, many of which have slideout rooms, flat screen TVs, computers, stereos, microwave ovens and other household appliances, often require 50- to 100-amp utility connections, as well as larger campsites and wider roads, all of which are difficult for Florida’s older parks to provide, unless they make considerable investments in upgrades and renovations.

Meanwhile, changing government regulations are making it more costly to develop RV resorts in some areas of Florida, which translates into higher RV site costs.

Eyster has seen evidence of this first hand in Citrus County. Seven years ago, when he developed Nature Coast Landings in Crystal River, the county allowed him to build up to 12 RV sites per acre. The county now requires developers to build no more than five RV lots per acre.

“This means everybody gets more space,” Eyster said. “It also makes it more expensive to develop the property because the infrastructure costs remain the same and you aren’t able to spread the water, sewer and clubhouse costs over as many sites.”

David Gorin, a longtime campground industry consultant, added that RV resorts that sell their sites provide consumers with an affordable way to obtain country club-style amenities without the high maintenance fees that condo developments typically charge. RV site owners can also have the park rent out their sites when they’re not using them, so they can make money on their investments.

The insurance costs for RV sites are also lower than they are for site built homes and condos, since RV sites are less susceptible to hurricane damage than site-built homes or condos, Gorin said, noting that RV owners have the ability to move their vehicles before powerful storms arrive.

So with this information in mind, combined with the relative shortage of higher end RV parks and resorts that sell their sites, developers are less inclined to lower their prices.

Some RV resort developers also feel they have an obligation not to lower their prices because that could undercut investors who recently purchased sites from them.

“There’s still quite a bit of consumer interest in buying an RV site,” Gorin said, adding, “If you go to the Tampa RV Supershow in January, practically every park that sells its sites has a booth there.”

For more information regarding the price trends involving RV resort sites, contact Jim Eyster, Chassa Oaks RV Resort, Homosassa, (352) 212-7245 or; Bill Harvey, Silver Palms RV Village, (863) 467-5800 or; or David Gorin at (703) 371-7467 or

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Pennsylvania Cabins Campground Opposed

September 23, 2010 by · Comments Off on Pennsylvania Cabins Campground Opposed 

A Connellsville, Pa., man is finding opposition from neighbors to his request to construct a “resort-type” structure in Dunbar Township near River’s Edge Campground, the Connellsville Daily Courier reported.

At a public hearing Wednesday (Sept. 22), Geno Gallo, the former owner of River’s Edge Campground, brought his request for a special exception to the Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board. Gallo would like to place what is considered a resort-type business to this community 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

His venture would target those who are using the nearby bike trail.

Gallo wants to construct a maximum of 40 cabins, a swimming pool, a larger cabin with a meeting place, a cabin to sell and prepare food, three-sided structures for cyclists, RV sites and a residential structure where Gallo would live on 30-plus acres of land he owns in the Dunbar Township area.

The land is separated by the River’s Edge Campground, which has been owned by a relative’s corporation since 2005.

Gallo testified before the board that he has wanted to do something for the bike trail and found a need for lodging in the area. He said a business there would bring in additional revenue for the local utilities as well as the township; he added that his first phase of the project would be to construct 10 to 15 cabins.

Cathy McCollom, who was formerly with the Trail Town Program and the Progress Fund, did not represent the organizations she was affiliated with when she testified about a 2008 study that pointed out a need for hotel and motel lodging in Fayette County, especially Connellsville.

“It’s important for Connellsville to seek lodging,” McCollom said, adding that those who use the bike trail spend $96 in a town along the trail in comparison to the $13 they spend if they don’t spend the night in a town.

McCollom said the proposed area being a few miles away could help fill that need.

However, five residents around that area expressed opposition to the proposal.

Colleen Joseph, who resides along Adelaide Road, said she has been subjected to RVs traveling on her property because the roadway is too narrow.

“Safety is the biggest issue,” Joseph said.

Joseph Ritz Jr., who resides along Adelaide Hills and looks over the campground, said he opposes the proposed special exception for several reasons — smoke drifts from the campground area up into his residence and he fears the problems that might be associated with bringing travelers into the area.

“This will devalue property,” Ritz said. “We are a huge tax base.”

Beth Kuhns, who resides along Adelaide Road, brought a petition signed by approximately 40 residents expressing opposition to the proposal; however, the petition was not brought into evidence because of an objection by Gallo’s attorney, Doug Sepic, who said the petition is hearsay because not all of those who signed the petition were available to be questioned at the hearing.

Kunhs said many of the complaints came from the ongoing changes with the plans. She said she heard the number of cabins fluctuated hearing at times there may be 80 cabins.

“We purchased this for a residential community, not for RV sites,” Kuhns said.

Gretchen Mundorff, attorney for the zoning hearing board, reminded the residents that the special exception request wasn’t for changing the zoning. The area is currently zoned as agricultural, which Mundorff said is the riskiest piece of zoned land to have a residence. She said that zoning designation could mean anything from a shooting range to mining can occur next to a residential property.

The board will announce its decision within 45 days.

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Chamber Prez Quits to Support RV Park

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off on Chamber Prez Quits to Support RV Park 

Charlie Arnold has stepped down from the board presidency of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce in Chino Valley, Ariz., to devote his energies to fighting a referendum drive against a recreational vehicle park project, the Sun Shopper reported.

Arnold said he also announced his resignation Wednesday (Sept. 8) during a chamber luncheon to be “above reproach.” The resignation will go into effect by the end of the month to allow for an orderly succession, and Arnold will remain as a member.

“I want to have the ability, whether politically or legally, to devote my time to this referendum issue,” said Arnold, 25, who has headed the chamber board since July 2009. “I made the choice on my own.”

Arnold said he wants to represent his client, Jack Tuls Jr. of Las Vegas, Nev., as a businessman and not as chamber president.

He announced his resignation eight days after Protect Our Rural Lifestyle submitted petitions to Town Clerk Jami Lewis to seek to overturn a July 22 decision of the town council. The council voted 6-1 that evening to rezone 17 acres on the south side of East Road 3-1/2 North, about 400 feet east of Highway 89, to accommodate plans by Tuls to build a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) RV campground at the location.

Opponents claim heavy-commercial zoning at the location conflicts with nearby homes. Arnold and other supporters believe the KOA, and other commercial development on land Tuls owns, will create jobs and stimulate economic development.

Petition drive organizer Candy Blakeslee, who attended the luncheon as a chamber member, said her opposition is nothing personal.

“This is about a project, not about specific people,” Blakeslee said. “This is about commercial-heavy zoning next to residential. It is not against Mr. Arnold. It is not against Mr. Tuls.”

She referred comments about Arnold’s decision to the person who chairs the committee, who could not be reached for comment.

Tuls, who also attended the luncheon, said Arnold notified him a few days ago about his intention to resign from the chamber presidency.

“He does not want the chamber in the middle of it,” Tuls said. “He definitely is making a good decision.”

Tuls said about 50 people approached Arnold offering their support after he announced his resignation. The chamber has more than 350 members.

Concurring, Chino Valley Mayor Jim Bunker said Arnold did not want to divide the chamber by playing an active role in the referendum, adding some project opponents belong to the chamber.

Meanwhile, Lewis, the town clerk, said Wednesday that she has until Sept. 29 to forward the petitions to the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office.

“That is our deadline,” Lewis said. “My intention is to get them (submitted) a week ahead of time.”

Lewis is reviewing 446 signatures that Blakeslee’s group turned in Aug. 31. The figure is well above the 188 minimum based on the number of voters who participated in the council election in 2009.

Lewis previously said the earliest date a referendum could take place is next March, the same time as the next council primary election.

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Texas City Invests in Park Model ‘Cabins’

September 8, 2010 by · Comments Off on Texas City Invests in Park Model ‘Cabins’ 

Existing park model cabins at The Vineyards Campground, Grapevine, Texas.

Existing park model cabins at the Vineyards Campground, Grapevine, Texas.

In a continuing trend by the campground industry to add park model accommodations to campgrounds, seven new park model cabins and a camp store are among $500,000 in improvements at the Vineyards Campground at Lake Grapevine in Grapevine, Texas, the city council decided Tuesday (Sept. 7).

Council members voted to start the process of issuing a $500,000 bond to pay for the cabins and furnishings, a camp store and five boat docks. They also approved spending $267,524 of the bond money specifically for the seven manufactured cabins for the 52-acre, city-owned camping area, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported.

“There has been strong demand” for the campground’s existing five cabins, “and it’s growing,” said Joe Moore, Grapevine’s assistant parks director.

Each new cabin will cover about 395 square feet. Each will be supplied with kitchen utensils and appliances and will have plumbing and air conditioning.

The 400-square-foot camp store will carry “minor supplies and sundries,” Moore said. It will also have a computer station for campers to check e-mail.

Docks will be installed at four recreational-vehicle camping sites and at the campground boat ramp.

Cabin rental fees — $106 to $145 a night — are expected to generate enough to repay the bond and cover maintenance costs.

The upgrades are the latest of several in recent years. In April, the city approved $1.4 million to build foundations for the seven cabins and to hook up water and sewer service and electricity to 17 RV sites. That work began in May and is set to end late next month.

A $1.8 million renovation in 2006 added the five cabins, a fish-cleaning site, new and renovated restrooms, and 13 RV sites.

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Acquisitive Alabama Resort Launches Website

August 27, 2010 by · Comments Off on Acquisitive Alabama Resort Launches Website 

Representatives from Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC (BTRH) announced Thursday (Aug. 26) the launch of their new corporate website, The site was developed to serve as the consulting and resort acquisition platform for BTRH, the parent company of Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, in Foley, Ala., the organization’s flagship property.

“Over the past two years we have been bombarded by two requests. The first, guests and owners asking where our next resort will be located and secondly, developers from coast to coast wanting to join the Bella Terra family,” Chuck Smith,BTRH president and CEO, said in a news release. “The BTRH team was put together to both actively seek out additional locations for Bella Terra resorts, as well as consult with existing and yet to be developed properties in the United States and internationally.”

The website features an extensive list of services provided by BTRH in addition to those provided by their strategic partners. These include: site acquisition and design, construction management, sales and marketing, HOA management, rental management, resort management, legal and financing.

Features that will be added in the coming months include a section for best practices, blogs, research, newsletter and key industry news links.

“BTRH has brought together a great resource for the industry,” said Tom Derzypolski, principal of BowStern, an integrated marketing firm specializing in the RV industry. “I would say the vast majority of developers contemplating or attempting to develop an RV resort have likely never owned an RV nor visited an RV resort. The resources available through this website will not only provide valuable insight to the nuances of the RV industry, but also improve the products being developed for the RV consumer. It’s a win-win for all.”

Through their flagship property, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, BTRH has developed multiple proprietary processes and advanced practices that offer projects seamless transition through design, development and launch of RV resorts.

“We have spent well over $1 million developing what is being recognized by industry leaders as one of the finest brands in the nation,” said Tripp Keber, COO of Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC. “A strong brand coupled with effective systems, offer our projects early recognition, credibility and speed to market. These are winning combinations for us and our partners.”

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