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Put out welcome mat for glampers

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting brought some welcome news in the form of a proposal to build a luxury recreational vehicle resort in town.

As part of the land management plan process, Top Dollar Entertainment introduced a proposal to build the resort on about 74 acres surrounding Boulder Creek Golf Club. It will have space for 233 RVs. They also hope to build 60 high-end cabins for those without RVs to stay in.

The company’s principals, Gary Baldwin, a 20-plus year resident of Boulder City, and Frank Manzullo, said they would like to build a place for class A motor homes to “camp” for awhile, enjoy the adjacent golf course and take advantage of the city’s proximity to outdoor recreational activities as well as its many businesses.

But make no mistake; this proposal is not for a campground, even a glorified one.

Their Elite RV resort will take “glamping” to the next level.

Glamping, a blend of glamorous and camping, lets people surround themselves by nature but in a luxurious setting.

And many of these class A motor coaches are the epitome of luxury. They often cost more than a house and quite regularly serve as people’s homes. They are packed with modern conveniences and feature high-end amenities. The only difference is that they can be moved from place to place.

This is far removed from the type of camping I experienced when growing up — sleeping on the ground in a pup tent or on a thin mattress in a tent-trailer with no heat or air conditioning. Bathroom facilities were a short walk away and shared with others at the campground. We cooked outdoors on a portable stove and washed dishes in plastic tubs after boiling water so we could get them clean. We really roughed it.

There’s a big difference between camping and glamping — and that’s a good thing. People who own these types of motor homes also have money to spend on extras while visiting the community.

Baldwin and Manzullo told council members their intent is to bolster the city’s tourism efforts and perhaps create a new type of tourism: golf tourism.

Despite the positive effects this resort could have on the community, there are some issues that need to be addressed before it can be built, according to council members.

They expressed some concerns about its impact on the environment and how much of a burden it would put on already-strained water and electric resources. They questioned whether its location, on the far western edge of the golf course and town, could be considered leapfrog development or if the developers were trying to skirt the city’s controlled growth ordinance by creating lots for “motor homes.”

They also wondered about how visitors would react to possible noise as the proposed site sits in the flight path of the airport. It is the third busiest airport in the state, according to data published in 2019.

There is hope these issues can be allayed and we will see this resort come to fruition.

In the past few months, Baldwin and Manzullo have been meeting with city officials to hear their concerns and try to address them as they move forward. Indeed, their proposal, which Baldwin called version 12.0, tried to address many of those concerns already.

It’s a step in the right direction. So is the motion made by Mayor Kiernan McManus, which was passed unanimously, to forward the proposal to the Planning Commission for additional study. It was also the right thing to do.

The city needs to diversify its stream of revenue. With its controlled growth ordinance, taxes from residents and property owners are limited and cannot keep up with the pace of inflation. And while the income from the leases on the solar fields bring in millions, there is no guarantee they will continue beyond their initial terms.

Leasing the land for the RV resort is a win-win for the city. It brings a new source of revenue to our coffers and it allows locals to show their pride in the place they call home. Boulder City is indeed a special place to spend time — even if it’s just for a week.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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