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Controversy has arisen over a proposal to convert several acres of riverfront property along the East Two River into the Tower Harbor Zone district in Tower, Minn., the Timberjay reported.

The impetus for the change is a proposal by Dave and Diane Rose to construct a small RV park near the river on land, currently zoned residential, that they recently purchased. The RV park is not allowed under current zoning, but would be allowed, by conditional use, if the land and two other adjacent parcels are added to the harbor district.

The proposal has property owners on nearby Mill Point upset and speaking out in opposition. At several recent meetings, they have argued that the new facility would lower property values, increase traffic and noise, and generally undermine their peaceful, semi-rural existence.

Yet as one member of the planning commission noted this week, bringing more people to town has been the centerpiece of the city’s development strategy for decades. The new state park, the new harbor, Main Street redevelopment, plans for town homes and, hopefully, much more, are all part of this vision. And if all, or even most, goes according to plan, it will change the character of Tower.

It will mean more traffic, more noise, more people, but it will also mean a healthier Main Street, a bigger tax base, new services, and new amenities. Tower will be a different place, but potentially a better and more interesting place to live. At least, that’s the hope.

Nobody knows whether the proposed RV park will actually happen. Even if the rezoning is approved, the proposal would still need a conditional-use permit that could address many of the concerns raised by residents. Given the inherent limitations of the site, which is dominated by wetlands, it remains to be seen if an RV park can even be permitted there.

In a sense, though, this debate isn’t about an RV park — it’s about two competing visions for the community.

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