The Kalispell Planning Board unanimously approved a proposal for a new RV park called Montana Basecamp on U.S. Highway 93.
The board made its decision at a meeting on July 10 after a discussion lasting more than an hour.
Submitted by a Florida-based developer, the proposed park would occupy more than 50 acres at 3260 U.S. 93 South near the intersection with Ashley Meadows Road. The application states that Andy J. Matthews of Orlando, Florida will purchase the property under the entity Basecamp Outpost LLC and operate the park under Montana Basecamp Inc.
Kalispell Senior Planner Jarod Nygren likened the park to a hotel and said it could be beneficial to the local economy by attracting tourists to Kalispell, noting that the town tends to “be a pass-through” for visitors.
“A huge percentage of the people who visit Montana do it in a RV,” he said.
Nygren added that the city has never before approved a RV park.
The board approved a number of amendments in making its decision, including recommendations for the rezoning and reclassification of the property as urban mixed use instead of urban residential use.
Chad Graham, president of the planning board and city council, said the board discussed many of the proposal’s logistics during a work session in June and members of the public “were pretty much in favor of it.”
Citizens for a Better Flathead was the only group to express concern over the proposal at the meeting. Nygren said the planning department had prepared staff reports, which he said largely addressed these concerns.
The park would consist of 330 RV spaces taking up over 24 acres of the property, according to documents given to the city, and other portions of the land would include two small commercial spaces as well as paved roads and common areas for visitors.
Currently underdeveloped and located on the west side of the highway, the property is flanked by the U.S. Highway 93 Bypass to the north, two bike trails — the Great Northern Historical Trail to the west and south and the Montana Department of Transportation to the north — and Ashley Meadows Road to the south.
Graham characterized the plan as “a good use of the land,” noting that the park would provide a service “that is lacking in the valley.”
The proposal indicates that Kalispell-based A27 Engineering is under contract with Matthews and construction of the park would take place in five phases over multiple years, with the first 40 RV spaces completed by the summer of 2019 and amenities introduced over time.
In a letter to city officials, Matthews characterized the park’s ideal clientele as “the upper to high end tourist wanting to experience Kalispell at an elevated level of camping.”
He wrote that the park’s pricing “will be on the higher side of RVing” and will prioritize recreation.
Nygren said the city council will be the next body to review the proposal and that members will likely host a work session first to discuss the logistics of the “unique” project. He added that, if approved, there would then be at least one public hearing to discuss it.