Thursday, November 30, 2023


Building an RV park from scratch: When it rains, it snows!

By Machelle James

Today we received our copy of the site plan to submit to Planning and Zoning. We are waiting for Letters of Service from the Fire Department, electric company and the water company. This process will take a long time as P&Z will come back and have us make change recommendations.

After that, we will have our neighborhood meeting to change the zoning from residential commercial, A-General and Agricultural, to a Special Use Permit. When we combined the three parcels we originally bought, they all had some type of zoning use that was not a primary residential zoning. So changing this mishmash of zoning to Special Use Permit shouldn’t be that difficult – we were told.

This land could have had apartments, a school, a hospital, a bar or club, a farm and a ton of other options. I am sure our seasonal family campground is a much better option for our small town and also for our neighbors! I also have to include a written narrative proposal into this massive undertaking.

When you have to describe your vision into words so the town can see what is in your brain, it is a challenge. I am trying to be as specific as possible, but how do you describe happiness? How do you describe nature? Our Community Center will be the Hub area and meeting area for various projects – as in arts and crafts, karaoke, sports game watching, board games and card playing area, entertainment area, nature instructors from Game and Fish, demonstrations, BBQ smackdown smokeoffs, cupcake and cookie decorating, and general silliness while making family memories – that happens to have a bathroom attached. That is what I will describe, but in a formal way of course.

As I write this article right now, it is snowing! This desert rat has never lived anywhere where it snows. I woke up, pulled up the blinds and gasped! SNOW! It snowed overnight! I jumped up, buttoned up, and ran outside to take pictures before it melted. I felt like a child seeing Santa for the first time! Our day was spent baking biscuits, drinking hot tea, making soup and movie-watching with our daughter, Jenna. I know most of you have had your fair share of snow, but I have not. So I am definitely not sick and tired of it – yet, anyway! Oh, please bring us a White Christmas this year!

Also, as many of you strongly suggested, as well as the locals here, we moved an empty shed from the back of the property to the front so we can place our wood in there instead of on our deck. Thank you for your tips and knowledge as we need this advice from you seasoned snow bunnies!

AJ can do most anything and driving a tractor was no exception. You can YouTube almost anything nowadays and find answers. I could not believe it when he sent me the photos! This man is a machine and I am so thankful for him.

As we patiently wait for the final paperwork, we are so thankful for the friends we have made along the way and the connections we keep making on our journey. This unique family of campground owners and advocates are truly a giving group of individuals. They want us to succeed and vise versa. When we figure out how this all works, we also will pass on our knowledge to the next generation of campground owners.

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

Read Machelle’s 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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littleleftie (@guest_57462)
4 years ago

Machelle–I second Ray’s opinion that you are a good writer. You articulate your ideas well and when you see that group face-to-face, your passion will shine thru and they will not have any reason to turn your plan down!
I enjoy following your progress and look forward to one day staying at your campground.
Enjoy the snow! It is a delight.

Machelle James (@guest_57544)
4 years ago
Reply to  littleleftie

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement! I truly appreciate you taking the time to write a postive message to me! That means ALOT!! 🙏🙏♥️♥️

Connie (@guest_57061)
4 years ago

Keep up the great work! And enjoy that snow! Each snowflake is unique… a special little gift from Above.

Machelle James (@guest_57201)
4 years ago
Reply to  Connie

Thank you Connie! We woke up to another day of light snow and it was Glorious! I can’t wait for our first full winter here! Happy Thanksgiving to you Connie!

Ray Zimmermann (@guest_56973)
4 years ago

Machelle, I don’t think you will have a problem “describ(ing) your vision into words.” I’ve been reading all your articles – you are a very good writer. You are off to a good start in what you described in this latest article. Maybe don’t worry about making it too “formal” – let the passion of your vision come through!

Machelle James (@guest_57200)
4 years ago
Reply to  Ray Zimmermann

Thank you Ray for the kind word! I wrote the letter and it was heartfelt and factual! I appreciate your continual support and wisdom! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Ray!

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