By SCOTT CARLSON
North Platte Post
NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-Tuesday night's North Platte City Council meeting was dominated by discussion about a proposed RV park in the city.
A public hearing was held regarding action on a conditional use permit application by Merlin and Kelle Dikeman at 3501 S. Willow St. The RV park would consist of eight spots for campers, as well as an additional building the Dikemans would live in and run their existing business from.
Following a Dec. 27 meeting, the North Platte Planning Commission forwarded the application to the Council with a favorable recommendation.
After a motion by councilman Ty Lucas to approve the application, councilman Ed Rieker voiced concern with the verbiage in the city ordinance 156-312, pertaining to RV Parks.
Reiker proposed amendments to the conditional use permit to change the language of several application requirements, such as requirements for recreational areas, landscaping, and other items, that would not be cost-prohibitive to the Dikemans.
City Planning Administrator Judy Clark addressed the council and said Rieker's proposed amendments would require changes to the city code, an action that can only be taken by the Board of Adjustment.
Clark said the Dikemans essentially have two options, they can go through the process of having the ordinance changed, which could take time, or they could proceed with the application and appeal the requirements of the ordinance.
Councilman Mark Wood then spoke, saying the ordinance, which the Council approved in June, was not available online or in the Council handbooks.
"You're taking over the owner's business plan by sticking in all these things, and it is going to kill the business," said Wood. "When they tried to find out about this, they couldn't find this ordinance."
"They bought land and got ready to do it, but they didn't know about all this," said Wood.
Following further discussion, councilman Brad Garrick asked the Dikemans to approach the podium to answer questions.
"If we go back through the appropriate channels and through the process, is that going to create an undue burden on your timeline," Garrick asked.
The Dikemans said it without a doubt would.
"Here is my issue, how would you know if they have a year to get it on the books, you could buy the property and think this is going got work by what is published, then here you are with eight or 1o more stipulations," said Merlin.
Kelle Dikeman then distributed plans from Martin Buildings, in Madrid, to the Council.
"It's on hold and going through the financing process right now," said Kelle. "It's a very simple little design, it's the building, we want to live in our building, we restore cars, so we'll have storage for that and we'll have four campers that belong to us and rent out an additional four."
Kelle said they eventually have plans to add patios and other enhancements to the property.
The Dikemans biggest concern was with the verbiage of the ordinance.
"The requirements for a recreation building, it says and," said Kelle. "Now, that's a grammatical error, or is it not? If you say and, every single one of these has to go in if you say or you get to pick and choose."
Kelle said they have no problem complying with many of the requirements, but others will be prohibitive to their business plan.
"I don't mind putting in a horseshoe pit or a volleyball court," said Kelle. "But, when you're looking at a swingset there's insurance that goes along with that, and that's a high liability."
The Dikemans also said the cost of a professional site plan would be too high.
Council President Jim Nisley then pointed out that the ordinance does not state requirements but rather sets parameters in the event improvements are added to the property. This eventually led to a brief exchange between Nisley and Kelle Dikeman.
Councilman Wood suggested that this exchange only confirmed that the ordinance was vague and needed to be reviewed and adjusted.
Before voting on Rieker's amendments, councilman Pete Volz asked if a vote would even "hold water" since the Council did not have the authority to change ordinances.
This led to more conversation before the topic was tabled for clarification and review by the City Attorney.
Hear a full recap of the meeting with Mayor Brandon Kelliher here:
Watch the Council Meeting HERE.