This map shows the future location of an RV park near Auburn, Calif. Map courtesy of The Sacramento Bee.

Over the vocal opposition of nearby residents in Auburn, Calif., Placer County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Jan. 8) affirmed a plan to build a 51-unit RV park on the grounds of the Raspberry Hill Golf Course near this northern California city.

The 4-1 vote rejected the neighbors-backed appeal of a planning commission decision approving the park. Because the land is zoned commercial, the property owner already had the right to develop the land. The neighbors – fearing the recreational vehicle park would be a crime and blight magnet – suggested he build something smaller or something else entirely, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“The quality of the rural lifestyle we have will be impacted,” said Dawn McKinney, one of the residents who paid for the appeal. “I don’t think it’s a good fit.”

The 5 acres in question are wedged in between Interstate 80 and the Union Pacific Railroad line near Bell Road. The plan also calls for a manager’s unit and a general store.

To prevent inhabitants from turning the park into their full-time home, RV park tenants will not be allowed to erect exterior improvements. The maximum stay will be 180 days, after which residents will be required to leave the property (with their RV) for at least seven days.

Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, the lone vote against the project, unsuccessfully sought to shorten the maximum stay to 120 days.

The hearing – at which most of the 19 people living near the park testified against the project – lasted more than an hour.

“It’s been a long process. I believe it’s a good project,” said property owner Michael Reese after the hearing.

He said he isn’t sure there is anything he can do to convince the opposition that the RV park will be a clean, well-run operation and won’t morph into a drug-infested trailer park.

The debate over what type of people live in RV parks loomed large. Residents said they feared sex offenders and other felons will take up permanent residence in the RV park.

Some board members had a brighter view of people who stay at RV parks.

Supervisor Kirk Uhler talked about how his boyhood sports coach used his RV to spend summers in a Colorado RV park near his daughter and winters in Placer County near his son.

Supervisor Jim Holmes, who was elected board chairman Tuesday, said he grew up near an RV park. He said that many of the men who built Interstate 80 lived in the facilities. He also said family members who needed to be near loved ones during their final days at area convalescent homes could live at the RV park.

After the hearing, some park opponents said the planning commission and supervisors had predetermined the outcome.

“They listened politely,” said Garon Kendall, an area resident, “but their minds were already made up.”