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Two proposals for new RV parks in St. Louis County, Minn., both of which would bring new seasonal residents and a larger tax base to the community, have been stuck in neutral for years as a result of a city planning and zoning process that appears designed to block, rather than encourage, new development, according to The Timberjay

The process, which is overseen by Zoning Administrator Linda Keith and Planning and Zoning Chairman Steve Altenburg, could soon land the city in court.

Dave Rose, who has been working for four years to advance a small RV park along the East Two River, just downstream from the city’s harbor, said he’s considering filing suit if the city doesn’t take action to address his request for a conditional use permit for his RV facility.

“I’m willing to see if we can at least get something moving in the next month,” said Rose. “But I’ve lost income and I’ve probably already lost another season. Financially, it’s been a burden because I have an investment here and I’m making payments on it but I can’t move forward.”

Rose isn’t alone. Gary and Charity Ross have struggled for nearly six years to obtain a conditional use permit from the city to develop their own RV park on a large and private parcel overlooking Lake Vermilion’s Pike Bay, but have since put the property up for sale after years of frustration dealing with city hall.

Gary, who works at a Virginia-area mine, had moved his family to Tower in 2012 after buying a 58-acre plot of mostly open ground overlooking Pike Bay. Gary had hoped to retire from the mines in 2020 and the couple planned to develop an RV park in the meantime which would provide them with a steady source of income after Gary left his current job.

But that dream has turned into a costly nightmare for the Rosses, who continue to make $1,500-a-month-payments on a piece of eminently-developable property that, unfortunately for them, rests within the jurisdiction of Tower’s planning and zoning authority.

“We’re so frustrated,” said Ross. “We like it here, but we can’t keep dumping money into it. We bought it for a business, but it’s to the point where we put it up for sale because we’re running out of time.”

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