Friday, December 1, 2023


Building an RV park: We met with the Board of Supervisors – Good news!

By Machelle James

(June 23) Here we are in Holbrook, waiting to speak at our Final Approval hearing with the Navajo County Board of Supervisors. We are last on the agenda and my nerves are building and I feel queasy. My mind tells me we are going to be approved, but my heart worries. The “what ifs” are overwhelming and the unknown is pure torture.

This meeting was available in person and on a Zoom Video Conference. We had our family and friends watching via Zoom as we had to wait our turn out in the lobby area. Due to COVID, only 10 people were allowed in the Chambers at one time. We have prepared and practiced our presentation a hundred times. AJ is pacing the halls like an expectant father, waiting for his baby to be born. I secretly sit here praying for approval and also that I don’t throw up. We were number 21 on the agenda, and we waited for two hours before we could enter.

It’s our turn and here we go, walking into Navajo County’s Board of Supervisors’ (BOS) office. It’s a surreal experience walking into this group of well-respected men and women, knowing they have the final say for us to pursue our dream.

Our presentation begins with an introduction from Mr. Chairman to Berrin Nejad, who is Navajo County’s newest Planning and Zoning employee. She has helped us tremendously in navigating this whole process. This is her first presentation with Navajo County’s BOS and she is shaking in her boots too. She gives the BOS a powerful PowerPoint presentation, with dimensions, drainage, and our artist renderings included. She addressed the few neighbors who were against us opening and all those that were for us opening up. She NAILED it!  After Berrin’s presentation, it was our turn to speak.

AJ and I were told to speak about who we were and our vision of this Campground. We walked up to the podium, knees a knockin’, and we introduced ourselves. I spoke first about our family, our own camping concerns with Jenna being special needs, and our knowing how scary this must be for the neighbors to hear a CAMPGROUND is coming to their neighborhood.

We spoke about us living on the property, having support from our local community agencies and clubs (Chamber of Commerce, The Lions Club, etc.). I spoke about why we purposely went with a smaller number of really large spaces for our campground. It’s novel, it’s unusual, and everyone we talk to cannot wait to come here with our extra large spaces. Granted we are going to be the most expensive overnight campground in our town, not by too much, but that is the trade-off for large spaces. We are going to be about $20 a night more than other RV parks in our town. That’s even if they have availability! Most folks at RV parks here are full-timers.

Back to the meeting. We were asked a few questions about our septic and ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, for water quality). Our Engineer, Will, answered all questions to their satisfaction. We were thanked for answering all 94 questions from the few opposing neighbors.

What really stuck with me was Ms. Whitesinger from District V. She thanked us for trying to be good neighbors and not building a mega RV park. That meant a lot to her when we told her we were building small, when she knew we could build well over 100 spaces.

After her thanking us for bringing positive change to Heber-Overgaard, it was time for a vote. The Chairman made a motion to approve our project and Ms.Whitesinger seconded our motion. Then Mr. Chairman asked, “Everyone in favor?” All said, “Yea.” “Anyone opposed? No? Congratulations, you are approved, AJ’s Getaway.”

I am sure we were both holding our breath until we exhaled and said our Thank You’s to the BOS. As we walked out and went to the lobby, we hugged each other, thanked Berrin, and asked her, “OK, what do we do now?” She said we will get a letter next week from Navajo County approving our Campground so we can start pulling permits. So we are patiently waiting for this paperwork and meanwhile, a surveyor is coming out to mark our roads so we can start on that.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster! We drove home pretty quiet, thanking our family and friends via text. It kind of hit us, as in, “WE ARE REALLY DOING THIS!” As we celebrate another HUGE hurdle, we want to stay focused, work with the bank, and get our septic and electrical engineering finalized. We are now only truly starting the beginning of AJ’s Getaway RV Park.

Thank you so much for following our campground journey, and 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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Asa (@guest_86505)
3 years ago

Congrats on your approval! You wouldn’t be willing to provide any information on how you are building the septic would you? I’m in Alabama and looking to start a park in the next few years. Thanks, Asa. (

Machelle James (@guest_87235)
3 years ago
Reply to  Asa

Thank you Asa! I would be happy to email you as just made a decision on our septic system yesterday! Congratulations on your future adventures of being a future campground owner!

Rick and Jenn (@guest_85895)
3 years ago

Congrats to you. Now the fun begins. I can’t wait to see how it evolves. Hope to meet someday.

Machelle James (@guest_85956)
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick and Jenn

Hi Rick and Jenn! Yes, roll up the sleeves and let’s get to work! We do hope you can make it our way someday- we would love to meet you!

Thomas (@guest_85846)
3 years ago

You must be so tired from jumping thru all those hoops:
I would have never had the patience for all that. I built a new home in a new subdivision once. Very frustrating with all the bureaucracy and having to stop work while the powers that be changed the grade levels and moved the access road for the whole ( nothing to do with me) subdivision. Hope you can start work soon and in the future be able to be a guest .

Machelle James (@guest_85955)
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas

Wow! Now that sounds terrible! We have been patient and it is NOT easy! We were told it wouldn’t happen overnight and it could take 2-3 years.. we are on year 1 of living here so we were prepared.. its hard work for sure!!

LiVan_Life (@guest_85812)
3 years ago

I have goosebumps of excitement for you and AJ… congratulations!

Machelle James (@guest_85954)
3 years ago
Reply to  LiVan_Life

Hi Livan Life! Thank you very much for following our Campground journey and for your Support!!!

John Ruth (@guest_85721)
3 years ago

What do you anticipate site rental to be?

Machelle James (@guest_85953)
3 years ago
Reply to  John Ruth

Hi John ! We will be starting at $65.00 a night. We will offer weekly discounts so stay tuned for all the details!

Redraven (@guest_85658)
3 years ago

I have been following this with bated breath, and impatiently awaiting each weekly installment. I’m overjoyed for you and now we can look forward to staying there once it’s complete!

Machelle James (@guest_85952)
3 years ago
Reply to  Redraven

Hello Redraven! Thank you SO much for your support and enthusiasm! I love it! We would love to meet you and thank you in person for your continued support. Keep reading for all the updates!! 😀😀😀

Suru (@guest_85655)
3 years ago


Machelle James (@guest_85951)
3 years ago
Reply to  Suru

Thank you so much Suru!!!

Cindy (@guest_85641)
3 years ago

Yay! Now the real work starts!

Machelle James (@guest_85652)
3 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

Hi Cindy! Yes you are right about that..that was the first set of hurdles, now let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Clay & Pebble Causey (@guest_85621)
3 years ago

This blog is enjoyable. I know “jumping thru legal hoops” is nerve racking. Anyone that has worked as a private builder knows! You and AJ have what it takes to be successful even in a total f’d environment. Let’s all stay healthy, wise and profitable. We will visit soon with our motorhome and new beautiful Border Collies.!!✌🏻👍

Machelle James (@guest_85651)
3 years ago

Hello Clay and Pebble! Thank-you for your support and I do hope we can meet you and your pups!!

Benny H Smith (@guest_85619)
3 years ago

Congratulations and we look forward to stopping in.

Machelle James (@guest_85650)
3 years ago
Reply to  Benny H Smith

Thank you Benny! We look forward to meeting you and your family!

Captn John (@guest_85618)
3 years ago

Very good news and happy for you. Some regulation is required but it seems today everything is way over regulated. A shame to have to put so much blood, sweat, tears and money up before approval.

Machelle James (@guest_85649)
3 years ago
Reply to  Captn John

Hello Capt John! With today’s regulations, its a wonder anyone who is small like us can afford to start their own business… it is over the top regulations. And hence our pricing went up even more. It will be worth it in the end, just getting going is the challenge!

Erik (@guest_85617)
3 years ago

Congratulations Guys
Takes some pretty big stones to even dream about what you’ve accomplished. Good luck the rest of the way. Besides the pet of the day feature, your journey is the best part of the news letter.
Congrats again

Machelle James (@guest_85647)
3 years ago
Reply to  Erik

Thank you so much for following our journey Erik! That’s quite a compliment!! 🙏🙏🙏

Diane Mc (@guest_85612)
3 years ago

Congratulations to you all! Great job navigating thru all the bureaucracy. And thank you for sharing your journey. Held my breathe every time I saw you post an update. Hoping to visit once you are open! Looking forward to more updates & pictures. 

Machelle James (@guest_85646)
3 years ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Hi Diane! I am so happy you are enjoying reading our journey. I am super thankful I have the opportunity to share this experience with all the readers like you!! 🙏🙏🙏

CajunRVer (@guest_85601)
3 years ago

Congratulations, and thanks for including us on this journey!

Machelle James (@guest_85644)
3 years ago
Reply to  CajunRVer

Hello!! We are so thankful to have support like you!! It’s always an Adventure around here!

Sebastian Trost (@guest_85598)
3 years ago


Machelle James (@guest_85643)
3 years ago

Thank you for your support Sebastian!

Marmi (@guest_85592)
3 years ago

Looking forward to good times in this wonderful place!

Machelle James (@guest_85642)
3 years ago
Reply to  Marmi

Hi Marmi!! We can’t wait to have your family join ours with our kids activities and events!!!

Rick Vollstedt (@guest_85542)
3 years ago

Congratulations!! We are looking forward to one day staying at your park. Love the area!!

Machelle James (@guest_85570)
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick Vollstedt

Hi Rick! Thank-you for your support and we do hope you will make it up here when we open!

David Scheeler (@guest_85534)
3 years ago

Congratulations on clearing the last bureaucratic hurdle in fulfilling your dream. I enjoy your updates and look forward to them.

Machelle James (@guest_85569)
3 years ago
Reply to  David Scheeler

Thank You David! We both appreciate you following our story and thank you for your support!

Ed D. (@guest_85525)
3 years ago

AJ and Machelle,
I know that everyone on RV Travel is rooting for you guys. I know what a challenge starting a new RV Park can be. Your determination and tenacity is paying off and I assure you that we will come to visit you in the near future. All the best to you and we will see you in the trees!
Ed & Robin

Machelle James (@guest_85567)
3 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

OH THANK YOU!! I am thrilled you have been following our journey! We are so excited and we cannot wait to meet our readers when we open up! See you in the Trees!! 🌳 🌲

C Bonelli (@guest_85504)
3 years ago

Congratulations! It has been a real pleasure reading about your journey to this awesome milestone, and I look forward to more reports (with photos!) as you prepare for your first guests. Thank you for sharing your story.

Machelle James (@guest_85565)
3 years ago
Reply to  C Bonelli

Thank-you for your continued support! Yes, we will have many more photos to share with you along the way!

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