Commissioners in Starke, Fla., ended Andrew Olowski’s hopes to place an RV park on eight acres he owns in this north Florida city.
Olowski sought to rezone the land from high-density residential use to commercial. The city zoning board recommended the city commission turn down the application, according to the Lake Region Monitor, Starke.
Olowski said the site was approved for up to 92-unit apartment complex, but after plans for the site were ready to go, he encountered obstacles when applying for a construction loan. One banker told him to wait until the credit market improved before seeking financing. Instead of building an apartment complex now, Olowski said he decided to set up an RV resort, where customers would rent space for their recreation vehicles and take advantage of amenities he would build now, but would ultimately be used to serve the future apartment complex.
That intermediate step presented a different obstacle since a commercial RV park would require commercially zoned land.
Olowski tried to convince the commission by saying his would be a luxury RV park complete with a clubhouse with a fitness center, spa and a heated swimming pool, among other amenities. He distributed pamphlets to illustrate the type of facility he was talking about.
The proximity to a nearby technical school and lack of commercial uses in the area hurt Olowski’s cause.
City Attorney Terry Brown pointed out a potential flaw in Olowski’s plan to build an RV park now and an apartment complex later. Brown said if the commission chose to make the property commercial now, there was no guarantee that the board would vote to return it to high-density residential use in the future, and that would prevent the development of the planned apartment complex.
Olowski said he was willing to take that risk now, because the alternative was to do nothing with the land in the near future.
“In my opinion, this kind of business is beneficial for the city of Starke,” Olowski said.
Mayor Travis Woods thanked him for his comments before the board voted unanimously to reject the rezoning application.