Camping World gets OK to move ahead with expansion plans

Camping World is one step closer to picking up a little more space, and a Monticello property will get a makeover because of it.

Monticello City Council members voted 5-0 last week to approve a request for a Development Stage Planned Unit Development (PUD) for Vehicle Sales and Rental, Auto Repair – Minor, and Accessory Office and Retail Uses from Camping World’s Monticello outlet. Camping World will now prepare a request for a final stage PUD.

According to the city council agenda, Camping World recently acquired a six-acre property to its east, formerly occupied by Bedrock Motors, and proposed to the city they would integrate the current western site activities (primarily sales, display, and some services and retail uses) with activities on the Bedrock site (primarily detailing and vehicle preparation) in the buildings, and construct an expanded sales/display area over the full extent of the property, including the current green space.

The expansion takes the Camping World site from approximately 8.85 acres to 14.85 acres.
Prior to last Monday’s council meeting, Monticello Planning Commission had laid out a series of modifications to the original Camping World rezoning and PUD request.

One area where planning commission gave Camping World flexibility is in allowing a request for a 130-foot flag pole. Typically city code would cap the flag pole at 55 feet.

“They indicated to planning commission that was an important component to their application,” said City Planner Steve Grittman.

Two of the key modifications from planning commission were that Camping World must provide curbing around the entire paved area, consistent with the requirements of the zoning ordinance and that they follow city code in relation to landscaping. Camping World found nearly all of the modifications agreeable, and had already worked some into their plan before presenting to the council Monday night.

However one planning commission recommendation became a sticking point during city council discussion.

Camping World had originally requested to use the on-site buildings as they were. City staff made three recommendations to planning commission for what they thought Camping World should do with the buildings. The planning commission favored two of those three ideas, recommending that Camping World both upgrade the existing buildings with exterior architectural treatments to meet/exceed the requirements for a commercial building and construct a fence or wall around the east and south boundaries of the east parcel, with landscaping on east and south sides to create an attractive visual screen. The other option had been to knock down the buildings and build a much larger structure to meet zoning ordinances.

Walter Kucharyszyn was at the council meeting as Camping World’s representative, and told city council that while he was happy with the overall list, he wasn’t clear on why planning commission made recommendations for two different building upgrade plans.

“We basically agreed to the planning commission’s recommendations,” said Kucharyszyn. “My question would be in item 9 … I don’t understand why I need to do both B and C?”

Mayor Brian Stumpf said he wasn’t exactly sure how planning commission came to that motion.

“In my opinion, if you’d agree to 9-B, which is to upgrade the existing building with some exterior architectural treatments, why do you need a fence?” Asked Stumpf.

“That’s exactly where I was going, thank you sir,” replied Kucharyszyn.

Charlotte Gabler, council’s representation on the planning commission, said there was some thought that upgrading the building could take a while so that the fence and landscaping could be a good solution in the interim.

Stump felt they would be better-served asking Camping World to just upgrade the building and giving them a one-year timeline to do so. The mayor said Camping World has already proven itself to be a quality neighbor, and indicated he’s confident they’ll make the needed changes in a timely fashion.

“You can’t expect them to do it over night. I mean they’ve made a significant amount of changes out at that lot [since] they purchased it and moved in there,” said Stumpf. “I feel like they’re on the good side of that.”

Stumpf then made a motion to accept the development stage PUD with option 9B, and giving them one year to complete the upgrades. Councilmember Bill Fair seconded the motion, and it passed 5-0.

Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]