Plans for casino RV park brings concerns from neighbors, other RV businesses

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The Rising Sun Plan Commission voted Monday, April 11th to send a favorable recommendation of an amendment of the Rising Star Casino Planned Unit Development (PUD) to city council which calls for an RV park and road development for a ferry boat.

The commission decision is a recommendation which will be considered by city council on Thursday, May 5th.

Tom Engle, attorney for the project, explained the amendment that would provide 54 RV spaces in the parking lot southwest of The

Lodge Hotel, which was part of a 2012 PUD amendment.

An access drive is planned to coincide with a ferry boat project. A secondary RV park is part of possible future plans.

The RV plan is an effort to expand the casino customers. Full House (owners of Rising Star) operates a Mississippi casino with and RV park.

Alex Stolyar, senior vice president at Full House, made the presentation for the casino, which is seeking creative ways to get customers. It has added different things including a new restaurant. The recent Christmas Casino them made for the best winter quarter in sometime according to Mr. Stolyar.

The plans for a car ferry like Anderson Ferry can cut an hour trip to 10 to 20 minutes. It would increase commerce both ways, added Mr. Stolyar.

He addressed concerns about electric and regulations from commission chairman Dennis Williams (items to be determined in the final plans) along with security issues raised by city planner Mike Northcutt. There will be individual hook ups.

Among those expressing concerns were Richard and Linda Elsen (owners of Little Farm on the River RV Park) and Tim Sizemore (co-owner of Camp Shore Campground).

“We bring a lot of revenue into this town,” Mr. Elsen reminded the commission. “We’re making a living and doing our thing. Take into consideration how many years we’ve been here and the affect it will have on us.”

Linda Elsen noted that the casino vans come to pick up customers at Little Farm. One concern is if the casino does complimentary sites (like it does for hotel rooms).

“The riverboat has to be here,” admitted Mr. Sizemore, whose financial business is measured in thousands, while theirs is in millions. “It will affect us. We send our customers there (to the casino). We’re just a small outfit trying to make a living.”

Mr. Stolyar contended that the new RV park and the others can compliment each other where he said “we can all benefit.” The casino is looking at a different customer and wants their RV park to be an entertainment destination.

Resident Pam Stewart expressed concerns about lighting, noise, and gas fumes. Dawn and Steven Featherkile had aesthetic concerns while Dianna Shannon was concerned with the exhaust.

Dill Dorrell had questions on ingress and egress from the site.

Nanette Williams questioned BBQ pits and noise all night.

Bill Horstman noted the lights are not high up but he is concenred with the noise.

Bob Stutzman questioned if the 54 RV sites would fit in the area planned.

Bob White reminded the commission that the most concern during the original PUD hearings was from residents on Sixth and High Streets, site of the planned RV park.

“The buffering mound came about from the hearing,” Mr. White noted. Later in the meeting he suggested a compromise by using the RV secondary location.

However, the casino still has plans for possibly hotel expansion in that area, according to Mr. Stolyar.

Lane Siekman and the Ohio County Economic Development Corporation gave support the project because of the fairy boat.

Mr. Stolyar called the plan a serious capital investment and contends the plan is to affect the neighbors as little as possible.

Commission member Kevin Smith made the motion to give a positive recommendation to the city council with a second by Debbie Thomason. Members Phil Ruxton, Janet Bowman, and Garry Forwood voted in favor. Chairman Williams did not have to vote.