MURDOCK — Plans for a recreational vehicle park on Gasparilla Road received a narrow vote of confidence from the Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Board on Monday.

Also at the meeting, a modified tiny home project at 12150 Burnt Store Road gained a unanimous vote of recommendation. Simple Life LLC wants to make the homes stick-built instead of manufactured homes, if necessary.

Tarpon Groves LLC’s plan for up to 171 RVs and 114 residential accessory structures received a 3-2 vote and will go before the Charlotte County Commission, which make the final decision at a later date.

At issue for the two committee members voting against the project was the fear of too much traffic along Gasparilla Road coming from an RV park versus a regular residential community or even a commercial development.

Opposing the vote were Paul Bigness and Thomas P. Thornberry.

Bigness said he fears the county is allowing so much development that roads in west county and other areas will start looking like U.S. 41 with endless traffic lights.

Developers will have a new mindset, he said,

“’I’m coming to Charlotte County and boom, I’m going to get a zoning change,’” he said they would be thinking.

The developer’s attorney, Rob Berntsson, said a proposed RV park plan, which includes a gas station and convenience store, is less intense than what is already approved for the 39-acre site adjacent to the Rotonda subdivision.

An approval from 2009 allows 212 multi-family units and 110,000 square feet of commercial space, he said.

That project never happened.

Bigness also said he believes RVers lead an active lifestyle, and they will generate a lot of traffic.

“I’d almost rather see 240 residential retirement homes,” he said.

Two adjacent residents spoke against the project and none in favor.

“I don’t think it’s going to help property values in that area whatsoever,” resident Rich Halverson said.

County zoning does not allow people to live year round in an RV — only up to six months. Bigness asked if anyone monitors that.

That would be the tax collector, said Zoning official Shaun Cullinan.

Committee members also asked many questions about the so-called casita units allowed on some of the RV sites. These are small structures that can include bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens, Cullinan said.

What’s to stop RV owners from renting them out to others, committee members asked.

Most likely, the park will have rules that do not allow that, Berntsson said.

For the already approved tiny home project on Burnt Store Road, the developer has been unable to place timely orders for the 230 small manufactured homes, lawyer Geri Waksler told the board.

Supply chain problems have resulted in the manufactured home supplier saying it is too tied up with a number of larger projects in the southeast United States, she said.

Simple Life believes the demand for these smaller homes will be so great, Waksler said, that they want to move forward with homes that will be the same size and layout, but built with a foundation. In contrast, manufactured homes are delivered by truck and tied down to anchoring structures.

Waksler said the plan is to have the homes be indistinguishable and of a comparable price. The developer wants to get started as soon as possible, she said. Even with material shortages throughout the construction industry, it is quicker to build individual homes than to wait for the home manufacturer to become available, she said.


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