Neighbors of the property in question, located on Squirrel and Montgomery Hills roads off of Deer Valley Road, testified against the expansion proposed by Prestige Lakeside, LLC.

RV park or trailer park — the difference between the two in relation to a Sunrise Beach area property appeared to be blurred in a rezoning case seeking to expand a campground for recreational vehicles. 

While the rezoning application with the Camden County Lake Area District is seeking general commercial zoning to expand long-established Franky & Louie’s RV Park, in testimony Wednesday evening, residents in the vicinity often referred to the existing RV area as a trailer park — and stressing all of the negative connotations that come with that.

Neighbors of the property in question, located on Squirrel and Montgomery Hills roads off of Deer Valley Road, testified against the expansion proposed by Prestige Lakeside, LLC, not wanting the “trailer park” to come any closer, despite an existing actual trailer park that has been abandoned, leaving a ghost town like area of deteriorating mobile homes along the lakefront between the campground and the residents. 

George Tucker, one of three principals of Prestige which also includes Greg Tucker and Ryan Sinclair, described the property as being in “disarray” to the Camden County Planning Commission Jan. 16, 2019. Prestige purchased the property three years ago along with former Deer Valley Campground, renaming it after their adjacent bar and restaurant Franky & Louie’s. 

Since purchasing the property in January 2016, Tucker said they slowly evicted residents to pursue a business venture such as this and believes their RV park will improve property values, and linking petty crimes in the vicinity to the abandoned trailer park.

Prestige representatives shared a vision for a more upscale RV park with plans including a recreational area of basketball and/or tennis courts and a swimming pool. There will also be 20 boat slips, perhaps more depending on what Ameren Missouri approves. 

Neighbors largely disagreed, blaming the “transients” of the existing RV park for vandalism and heavy golf cart use on the roadways.

According to George Tucker, Franky & Louie’s RV Park currently has 314 RV sites, all under an annual lease. About 8 percent, he said, lived in their RVs full time with appropriate water service. 

The rest of the RVs are seasonal though many are left there year round. Water service to non-full-time sites is shut off Oct. 31 and turned back in the spring around April. 

Each year about 8 to 10 percent of these “campers” choose not to renew their lease, often making the move to purchasing their own lake home. 

With the annual leases there is not a lot of in-and-out of RVs to the park. On the flip side, with so many there long-term, maintenance appears to be an issue for some, and adding to the trailer park feel, semi-permanent structures have been added on to some of the RVs, such as lean-tos, sheds and gazebos. A slideshow of pictures of the existing RV park, presented by a resident opposing the rezoning, depicted mossy RVs with torn awnings, junk piles, outdoor refrigerators, collapsing lean-tos and feral cats around an overfilled dumpster.

One of the issues is the transitional or mixed use nature of the vicinity with both single-family residential and commercial zonings in the area. 

Project engineer Matt Matt Marschke described the RV park expansion as a good solution to buffer the existing residential area from the commercial uses in the area, including the restaurant, rather than putting in single-family homes on the property. 

The expansion area is 60 acres with eight acres already commercial. The rezoning is for 52 acres currently zoned residential. 

Approximately 100 homes could be built on the 52 acres as is. The commercial zoning could allow up to 187 RV sites, based on county zoning regulations. 

Residents didn’t buy into that, liking the idea of cleaning out the abandoned trailer park, but wanting to replace it with single-family homes instead.

It should be noted that one resident of several attending the meeting or weighing in through letters was in favor of the rezoning and expansion plans.

Contested, the case was held over to the February meeting of the planning commission, Feb. 20, when there will be a recommendation from the board to the Camden County Commission. The county commission will later hold a separate hearing on the rezoning and make the final decision.

A previously-yeard contested case over a conditional use permit for a duplex development in the Sunny Slope area of Camden County was approved by the planning commission Wednesday evening.