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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

RV park hearing canceled yet again

Catie Clark
Posted 11/20/23

ELY- The Ely Board of Adjustment’s Nov. 15 meeting on the conditional use permit application for a new RV Park along Pioneer Rd. lasted all of 22 seconds as board chair Mike Banovetz opened the …

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RV park hearing canceled yet again


ELY- The Ely Board of Adjustment’s Nov. 15 meeting on the conditional use permit application for a new RV Park along Pioneer Rd. lasted all of 22 seconds as board chair Mike Banovetz opened the meeting at 5 p.m. and promptly announced that the permit application under consideration was incomplete.
The blitzkrieg meeting marked the third time Ely residents packed council chambers at City Hall for a public hearing on the RV park proposed for 1759 N. Pioneer Rd. The first hearing was scheduled after Dean and Lee Ann Peterson of AOK Outdoors submitted a conditional use permit (CUP) in August for an RV park and campground with 35 RV pads, nine tent sites, and five seasonal cabins.
In Ely, the Board of Adjustment makes all the decisions on conditional use permits. The BOA is essentially a committee of the whole of the Planning and Zoning Commission and, according to Ely’s city ordinances, a board decision on a CUP can only be overruled if the application is denied and then appealed to the city council.
Dean Peterson did not expect the wall of opposition from neighbors at the BOA’s first public hearing for his CUP application on Sept. 20, as reported in the Sept. 29 Timberjay.
The Sept. 20 BOA meeting concluded the public testimony phase of the CUP hearing. The BOA decided to continue the meeting and hold its discussion and vote on the CUP application on Oct. 11. The Petersons and their Spaulding neighborhood opponents went home without a resolution on the CUP for the RV park.
The council chambers were once again packed on Wednesday, Oct. 11, for the continuation of the CUP hearing, at which time Banovetz announced that the Petersons had withdrawn the application temporarily and then adjourned the meeting 37 seconds later.
AOK reapplied for their CUP on Oct. 19, with an application several pages longer than the original. The new application decreased the number of RV pads by four, added a three-year phased workplan for construction, and included additional material like proposed campground quiet hour rules, and an engineering evaluation of shoreline stability. The Planning and Zoning Commission scheduled a new public hearing for Nov. 15, which mimicked the meeting on Oct. 11.
Many of those in attendance last week made it clear they weren’t happy to have the hearing adjourned without resolution for a third time. In a repeat of both the Sept. 20 and Oct. 11 hearings, a small handful of members of the crowd shouted their extemporaneous comments at the board immediately after the quick adjournment.
One unidentified commentor said he found the board’s actions to be “rude and uninformative,” and alleged that Banovetz had conspired to achieve passage of the CUP through attrition of the local opposition.
Banovetz told the commentor that he would take the gentleman’s remarks “under advisement.”
Ely area resident Paul Johnson brought up Banovetz’s Oct. 18 exchange with city council member and Planning and Zoning Commission liaison Angela Campbell, which was covered in the Nov. 10 edition of the Timberjay. Johnson told Banovetz he disapproved of the way he had addressed Campbell on Oct. 18.
Without addressing how he spoke to Campbell, Banovetz called Johnson’s comment “unacceptable and untrue,” and denied he had used vulgar language.”
Following up at city hall after the BOA meeting, Ely clerk-treasurer Harold Langowski confirmed that the city determined the second, longer application was incomplete. By comparison, the first, much shorter application produced positive findings of fact from the city’s planning and zoning administrator and was treated as complete. Langowski declined to list any specifics in the application that were considered to be incomplete.
Whether or when AOK Outdoors would be submitting new CUP paperwork is not known.
Dean Peterson of AOK Outdoors did not respond to a Timberjay request for comment.