Saturday, September 24, 2022


Building an RV park: Information overload with so much exciting news!

By Machelle James
My head is about to POP! Information overload today and it is all exciting news! We had our septic salesman, Dan, and our septic engineer, Marc, come walk the property two weeks ago. They helped us decide on a septic system that would work best for us and to work with our projected gallon use per day (GPD). They helped us choose a location for the tank, the reserve field and the primary field so we can keep our trees, and whatever else we need to do to make this work within Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) standards.

We are over the moon to announce we chose a simple SeptiTech Staar Commercial Textile Filter Treatment System. If you are in need of a commercial septic tank and want options, I would definitely look into this product. It’s way less expensive than the other brand that was previously recommended and it has less moving parts to break as well. It also uses a smaller field for drainage and this is a WIN-WIN for us for use of land space.

This also means we have final paperwork to submit to ADEQ for their approval! The application papers have been signed and the check is in the mail. For ADEQ and the type of Septic Permit we need, this will cost us $3,600 for them to review our plans and either approve it as is OR they will ask for changes before they approve it. The system is already on their approved septic systems for Arizona, so it shouldn’t be that hard to get our septic project approved.

We also had a Zoom meeting with our civil engineer, Will, and our septic engineer, Marc, last week. Now that we know how much room we need for the septic, we needed to rearrange our retention field for drainage and flooding concerns. Will is working on this right now so we can submit this to the county for the flood control engineer to approve. We also can apply for our grading permit as soon as we have this.

Today, we met with our building engineer to design our store and check-in area. We want more of a Country-Western look and feel of this area with wraparound porches to sit on and drink coffee to welcome the day, and to welcome our guests to our campground. As soon as we get a final drawing, I’ll share it with you here!

We have been continuing to work on the property and cut limbs from downed trees to sell as firewood to our guests. We also had an unfortunate event happen during the middle of the night. We had someone dump an entire truckload of tree stumps on the corner of our property. This is because we live in an unincorporated town and we have limited options for tree stump removal. It costs us A LOT of money to rent a dump-bed-style trash bin and no one wants to pay it, so illegal dumping out here is a HUGE problem. It starts at $450 for a 6-ton dumpster and you are charged extra if you go over the 6-ton limit. Some of these tree stumps are so big, you need a tractor to even lift them up. Hence you will easily hit your 6-ton mark with a few of those stumps.

I made a post on our town’s Facebook page and not only were people SUPER angry someone did this to us, but they also came together and helped us chop them up. The stumps are currently in our burn pits. I will say we do have some truly wonderful people here to help out in times like that.

We had Jenna’s 24th birthday party here and she had such a good time. In fact, we all had a good time! She is really into Super Smash Brother characters, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and root beer. So we had family and friends buy her T-shirts with all her favorite things and she went CRAZY with joy when she opened her gifts. We barbecued for everyone and had an ice cream cake at the end. It was so good to see our friends from the valley who came up for the weekend to be with her on her big day!

I can’t wait to fill you in on the next two weeks, as we really are starting to get the ball rolling. This process takes so long, and everyone said it would take two years to open. Well, I think that is going to be us as well.

Thank you for following our campground journey and as always, see you in the trees! And please leave a comment!

AJ, Machelle and Jenna

Read previous articles here.

Machelle James and her husband, AJ, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.



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2 years ago

A wrap-around porch! Can’t wait to visit and hang out there!

Patricia Neuzil
2 years ago

I’m really glad you had a nice birthday party and I’m curious if people wore masks.

Machelle James
2 years ago

We all had a great time Patricia. This article isn’t meant for mask discussions. It’s simply a place to learn the ups and downs of building a campground from the dirt up. Thank you for following our journey and have a terrific weekend!

Ed D.
2 years ago
Reply to  Machelle James

Machelle, pay no attention to the negative Nellies on here. We are all rooting for you and your family. Keep your head up and reaching for the Moon! We are all behind you!

Machelle James
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Thanks Ed! We TRULY appreciate your support and positivity!!

Ed D.
2 years ago

Is there as good reason for asking that question? Or are you just looking for something to complain about?
All of us here have been following their journey and have been elated with the tenacity and “can do” spirit that the James family has exhibited! Just be happy for them and give them all of the encouragement you can muster. They are going to need our “positive” backing! Enjoy your day!

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