When Micheal Brown and his son, Preston Brown, look at the upturned red dirt and former mill buildings along the Raven Drive property in Kings Mountain, N.C., they see a place where families can park their RVs and explore the great outdoors.
They want to build a recreational vehicle campground on Micheal Brown’s 57 acres of light-industrial property near the Gateway Trail and Chemetall Foote Corp. property in Kings Mountain, the Shelby Star reported. But the recent approval of a Kings Mountain zoning ordinance text amendment intentionally makes their dreams of an RV park cost-prohibitive and nearly impossible, the Browns said.
The Kings Mountain City Council voted 5-2 at its last meeting to approve the text amendment, which increases the requirements for RV parks or campsites in city limits. City officials say the new requirements will make RV parks and campsites safer for property owners and campers.
The Brown family, however, says they’re being unfairly targeted.
“We’re trying to do something good for the county, the city,” Preston Brown said. “ … And they just halted us right in our tracks.”
Micheal Brown previously received a permit for 11 acres of his property to be used as a recreational vehicle site, and the new standards outlined in the recently passed text amendment won’t apply to those 11 acres, he said. The Star previously reported that Brown was issued a building permit Sept. 14 to install 47 campsites at 114 Raven Drive. The work was valued at $47,000.
A change in plans
But those 11 acres facing South Battleground Avenue aren’t where Micheal Brown wants to put his entire RV park, which he wanted to resemble the Oceans Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a common area, cafeteria, game room and other family activities. He wants to put the main part of his RV park away from the road and closer to the woods, where he said campground visitors can truly experience camping.
Micheal Brown’s 57 acres of property have a total tax value of $636,467, according to county property records. The land is valued at $606,400, with a building value of $30,067.
Kings Mountain Planning Director Steve Killian presented the text amendment changes to the city council for approval. He said the previous standards were “very minimal” and that he agreed with the planning board’s recommendation to the council to approve the amendment changes.
At the Oct. 24 council meeting, more than 40 people signed up to speak against the text amendment that would change guidelines for RV parks. Several people, including Preston Brown, stood before the council and talked about why they thought the text amendment was unfair. Preston Brown maintained that blocking the text amendment would actually benefit Kings Mountain in the long run.
“It’s going to produce jobs, and it gives the kids something to do,” Preston Brown told council members.
When those speaking against the text amendment finished their comments, Mayor Rick Murphrey asked everyone against the amendment to stand. Nearly half of the audience stood up from their seats.
The Chemetall Foote Corp. wrote a letter to Murphrey recommending the approval of the text amendment. Murphrey read the letter aloud at the City Council meeting.
“… Chemetall strongly supports the language provided in the above-referenced text amendment and recognizes this amendment as being necessary to ensure that patrons of recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds are made aware of and afforded some level of protection from health or safety hazards that may be inherent to or present on the subject recreational vehicle part and campsite property or any adjoining properties,” wrote Ken Brown of the Chemetal Foote Corp.
The letter went on to say that Kings Mountain has a responsibility to protect its residents, and the text amendment would do just that.
“In its efforts to allow fair and reasonable use of property, the city must ultimately have the ability to ensure that owners seeking changes in land use implement appropriate controls to mitigate any potential endangerment such land use my bring to the public,” Ken Brown wrote.
City council members Howard Shipp and Rick Moore voted against the text amendment. Before the vote, Moore asked Micheal Brown if he was willing to work with city planning officials about the text amendment and its implementation. He said yes.
The text amendment, however, passed. It now applies to 1,215 parcels, totaling 11,350 acres in Kings Mountain, according to city records.
If the text amendment had been voted down at the council meeting, Micheal Brown said he would have given the county an easement on the Gateway Trail and put up a bathroom facility and emergency phone accessible to those using both the Gateway Trail and the RV campground.
The Browns said they planned to have part of the campground, including a miniature golf course and go-kart track, operational by April.