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Letters to the Editor

February 24, 2012
By James Rocheleau , Pierce County Tribune

In response to the article concerning a recent decision made by the Rugby Zoning Board:

My wife and I have owned numerous businesses in the town of Rugby, and have been on numerous boards of committees. Trying to operate a business in this town has been a challenge, to say the least. The town committee seems to be set in succeeding to stifle businesses by raising taxes and stonewalling proposals. Enough is enough!

The zoning board is a prime example as of late. I have been putting plans together to expand my RV park due to the fact that newer RVs and campers are much bigger these days than the spaces we currently have--basically our campground is outdated (originally designed for smaller units). What this means is that we need to expand or shut down.

I lease the six acres north of my motel from Felice Anderson, and it is currently a weed-controlled field. I received her permission to put more RV sites on her land, and then proceeded to work on the design. I spoke with Rick Larson, Ron Montonye and others about putting in sewer, water, and electric for the sites, and they never mentioned that I would need to go to the zoning board! It was only when my son suggested it (as I was about to break ground) that I went to find that yes, indeed, I had to go through the zoning board.

So I went to the zoning board and submitted my proposal. I thought I had everything I needed. That month they said that they would talk about it and then vote on it at the next meeting--in a month! At the next meeting they informed me that I was required to have Felice Anderson's signature approving the plan before they could vote on it. We then submitted Felice's signature and the proposal. We were not in attendance at the third meeting because we were told that it was not the "correct signature". So we obtained the correct signature, had it notarized, and when we presented it to the board (with Jay Burkhartsmeier and Bill Hartl presiding), it was completely ignored!

Digging deeper into this situation you will find a key player who has not yet been mentioned. Next door to my business Randy Fossum owns a trucking operation. His mother lives on the property there, and as far as I know it is all zoned commercial, not residential. Throughout this process he has continually attempted to halt the expansion of my RV park. When he realized he wouldn't be able to completely stop the expansion, he proceeded to complain the RV's would be too close to his mother's house. His complaining resulted in the decision that the zoning board settled upon. The decision, in layman's terms, is this: instead of placing 30 sites where originally designed, I must move them 100 feet to the east. This puts them onto a slope which is not conducive for RV use. So, in order to utilize the land that I pay a lease on, I am now forced to spend thousands of dollars to bring in dirt, level, and pack down the area for those sites. I feel this is extremely unjust as I am paying city taxes, but Randy is not (his business is outside the city limits)--yet he has succeeded in costing me more money to expand my business by influencing a city board!!!

Many times over the years I have seen the city council make decisions that affect Rugby businesses in negative ways. This is just the most recent situation. In my opinion, I think it's time that the people of Rugby stand up and make these people work for us, not against us--or we need to replace them. Why aren't we working with people that actually want to put good ideas to work that will enhance the growth of the city of Rugby?

Sincerely,

James Rocheleau, Owner

Oakwood Inn Motel and RV Park

 
 

 

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