Saturday, September 30, 2023


Airboat noise concerns sink plans for new RV park near Omaha, NE

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.


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Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.


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1 year ago

I wouldn’t want to camp at a park that had airboats! If they drop that and provide riverside camping for normal campers then I’d be there.

Dennis Johnson
1 year ago

Way to go, Valley, for turning away from a snobby nuisance RV park!

David Darby
1 year ago

Developers blowing smoke. 500k plus RVs? But the airboat this is for real. Lived at lake George if Florida one season. Airboats are akin to camping on a drag strip. But you can get use to sleeping with earmuffs on. Takes time.

Victoria M
1 year ago

“This is the highest and best use for this land,” Why not leave the land alone and let the residents enjoy it. The developer sounds like one of those money hungry jerks who think every square inch of land has to have a house or strip mall on it.

Everything about this plan is absurd. I had to look twice when I saw the required cost of the RVs! Would not even consider staying at a place like this and would definitely be fighting against it if I was a resident.

1 year ago

Wow! Talk about discrimination – only the ‘ top elite’ can stay at the (proposed) park!?!? I wouldn’t stay at such a place even if I could afford it… too snooty for my tastes! We have a campground, if you can call it that, that recently opened near me – it’s for “Luxury Motor Coaches Only” – commoners such as myself and my camper, are NOT allowed in (and no, I don’t have junk).

As for the noise from all those airboats, I can certainly understand why the proposal was voted down. If I lived there, I would’ve voted against it too.

1 year ago

Call it Martini’s and Manhattan’s no Bush Light in that camp. Probably no Country or Western music played
there neither.

1 year ago

Certainly an RV Resort idea I would vote against. Airboats make jet skis seem quiet. I would not want to camp (is that even the right word) there. The sound of our diesels warming in the morning is music to the ears. Hmm, the replacement cost for my coach is approaching the the minimum value, will they count that. Oh right mine is 10 years old clearly not acceptable even though most people think it is a recent model.

1 year ago

Not matter what you do, there is always a bunch of Karen’s. These people need to move to Ukraine, where there are real problems.

1 year ago

Wow! Talk about being shoved out of an RV Park because you don’t have money! Not the type of people we would associate with anyway! However, if I were a nearby property owner I would oppose the airboat playground myself too wether I had money or not. Peace & quiet is priceless, the sounds of nature difficult to find in today’s world. This sounds like someone wanting to shove their ideas to make money down others throats despite what others living in the area already want. I would vote against this too! Instead make it a sanctuary for nature with limited camping/RV’s throughout so people can experience something rare & precious- quiet, relaxing peace & nature to observe.

1 year ago

“He said all recreational vehicles would have to have a value of at least $500,000 to be eligible to stay at the park.”
I wonder, is that new MSRP, or perhaps used Blue Book or what? …used luxury RV’s usually deprecate very fast, so will they have a “monthly value assessment” to determine the current “Value” of your rig. All this to keep us “rif-raff” RV’s out.
I can’t imagine being around a whole camp ground of folks setting around bragging/discussing the value of their rigs constantly…that really sounds like a good time…NOT!

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