By Eric Viccaro
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
The Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen conducted a 33-minute public hearing to discuss a possible recreational vehicle park in historic downtown.
James Ferguson, a co-owner of Audubon Grill & Bar, requested a zoning amendment to allow the operation of a recreational vehicle [RV] park within what’s considered an I-1 light industrial district.
The physical address for the park is 30 N. Main Street, and the area in question covers nearly three-quarters of an acre of land.
RV park discussions continued into the new business phase of this regularly scheduled meeting for the aldermen.
In the end, the board of the aldermen ultimately decided to table the matter for four weeks — providing additional time for more specific details and information.
The application process for the RV park began on June 15. The Planning and Zoning Commission met on July 2, at which time recommended approval to the city’s elected governing body.
The Audubon’s owners — Audubon Redevelopment, LLC, turned in the special use permit application — a group including James and Mary Beth Ferguson, Greg and Pat Ferguson and Herb Fallert.
Mike Fallert, Herb Fallert’s son, represented the group during the public hearing, addressing any questions the aldermen had.
Aldermen brought up a whole host of concerns ranging from the length of stay for a given RV customer, the type of utilities that will be available, pets, open-container issues and additional noise.
Another concern is providing specially designed signage to give RV drivers the proper route to take — especially since there’s a trestle bridge with only a nine-foot clearance at the corner of South Main and South Gabouri. Mississippi Lime primarily uses the bridge as a shipping line.
The leadership group also questioned the location of the potential RV park, especially with its prominent spot in the city’s historic district.
However, as a major tourist location along the Mississippi River, the Fallerts and Fergusons hope to provide a spot for RVs to dock for a few days and enjoy Ste. Genevieve’s amenities.
According to literature found in the special use permit, a possible RV park would “benefit the Audubon because of additional income and use of wasted property now, (it) will benefit other merchants because of additional overnight tourists to our city, and (it) will benefit the city and county with additional taxes and another convenience for tourists.”
Municipal code does not currently allow for an “RV park” as a use by right. However, the amendment would allow for this type of use.
Mike Fallert said the possible RV park would accommodate Class A vehicles as well as small campers. There would be water, sewer and electrical hook-ups, and one Audubon staff member would be available to help these types of guests.
The aldermen will revisit this issue at its Aug. 6 meeting.