By Marty Finley
The mood at City Hall in downtown Richmond was tense Wednesday evening as Save Camp Catalpa-a group trying to stop a lease that would allow a private company, RV Lakeview Park LLC, to build a recreational vehicle park at Camp Catalpa, a wooded park on the perimeter of Lake Reba in Richmond-sat alongside dozens of Richmond residents who supported the lease to bring the RV park to Richmond.
The groups divided the room up, and many stood out in the hall, as they gathered to be heard at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s regular meeting.
The Richmond City Commission voted Tuesday to ask the developer to withdraw the lease after Save Camp Catalpa members showed up at their regular noon meeting. Save Camp Catalpa President Beverly Wickersham asked the commissioners to withdraw the lease, as well as a zone change that would move the near 500-acre Lake Reba property from a residential zone to a public zone.
But Wickersham sent emails after the event encouraging members to show up to the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday in force and make sure the plan was killed.
However, the commission removed the zone change recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission’s agenda Wednesday afternoon.
Michael Eaves, a Richmond-based attorney and registered agent for Lakeview RV Park LLC, addressed the crowd of supporters for the RV park and told them to build a consensus and start attending commission meetings.
He told the dozens in attendance that the developer and city are “not on the same page” concerning the lease. He reminded the people the May primary was coming up, and said this would be the time the city would listen to the people.
“They will only hear us if we force them to,” Eaves said to the people.
Eaves said they have not heard either side’s case and should give both groups the chance to provide their opinion.
He said the city jumped into the lease without much information, and is opting out with the same amount of information.
Wickersham thanked the Camp Catalpa members, many of which had donned green Save Camp Catalpa shirts, for attending. He said he wanted to contact the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department and get the garbage cleaned up in Camp Catalpa. He said it will take some time as machinery will be needed to clear some of it, but said he was ready to go to work.
City Manager David Evans said Wednesday morning that the city would continue to discuss the lease with the developer. But as it stands, the city is legally bound to the lease.