RV park developers anxious to add more campgrounds to the inventory in the U.S. are facing local opposition from many quarters. But locals living near a proposed 100-acre, 275-RV-site park along the Platte River just west of Omaha, Nebraska, chose a unique reason to oppose the campground … airboat noise.
A campground with airboats
The planning commission in the small town of Valley, Nebraska, this week voted down a proposal to build the park put forward by developer Brad Brown. Brown, a well-known local housing developer, had proposed building a campground that would have also featured a fishing pond and a ramp for airboats.
Air boating is a popular pastime along the shallow Platte River. The boats, long a staple in Florida’s Everglades, include a huge, noisy propeller in the back that forces boat occupants to wear ear protection during their ride.
Neighbors of the proposed park packed the hearing on Tuesday. Most were concerned that increased airboat traffic would ruin their quiet life along the river. The commission voted 6-2 against Brown’s request for a conditional use permit. The issues will now go before the full Valley City Council.
“This is the highest and best use for this land,” he said, including that it is in a floodway and couldn’t be developed into full-time housing.
Long-term residents and high-end RVs only
Brown noted that the campground would not be a transient RV park. Instead, long-term residents would sign six-month rental agreements at $1,000 a month with a $4,000 down payment. He said all recreational vehicles would have to have a value of at least $500,000 to be eligible to stay at the park. The campground would only be open from April 1 to October 31 in order to avoid the time of year when ice jams may flood the river.
Neighbors testified that Brown’s plans included a dock for 15 to 20 airboats. The area of the river in question has traditionally not been a popular air boating destination.
Attorneys for opponents said airboat noise would constitute a public nuisance, well above the noise level of a normal highway.
When talk turned to the actual RVs that would use the proposed park, opponents said they also feared the RV units would become floating “missiles” careening downriver should the park flood. The land in question is in a floodway and there is a levee that currently runs through it.