De Beque RV park gives way to gravel pit amid code violations

the Canyon Lake Campground in De Beque is shown Wednesday. Most of the RV park’s residents are employed in the energy industry and have lived in the park for more than the 30 days permitted by Mesa County.

For two years a Mesa County Code Enforcement Department case against a recreational-vehicle campground north of Interstate 70 and three miles south of De Beque has gathered dust.

Early in 2007, the Mesa County Health Department cited the owner of the Canyon Lake Campground, Laurent Jaqualine, for improperly disposing of sewage, said Donna Ross, the county’s director of code enforcement. County Code Enforcement also cited the park, located next to an old gravel pit, for: improper disposal of sewage and gray water; inappropriate hookups for RVs to water, power and propane tanks; and for RVs staying at the campground in excess of the 30-day limit.

When the park was permitted by the county in the late 1990s, it was mandated that tenants stay for less than 30 days because there is insufficient infrastructure to support long-term habitation. Today, the park is home to more than 30 long-term residents, mostly energy-industry workers, and is a daily stop for a De Beque school bus.

Many of the RVs parked there have satellite dishes, large sewage and propane tanks attached to the campers and even attached mini carports. Surrounding the homes are an array of items found in typical suburbs: children’s bicycles and toys, recreational all-terrain vehicles, boats, horse trailers and dogs chained up outside.

But the Canyon Lake Campground has been an eyesore and an irritant for longer than the past two years, said its nearest neighbor, Ginger Latham.

“It has been run as a basic man camp,” Latham said.

Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis said the county might want to consider promoting more RV parks as an affordable-housing alternative for energy workers.

“Them staying there for more than 30 days does not bother me,” he said. “I think it is a solution for part of
our affordable-housing problem.”

Last week, however, the park may have been put out of business. The Mesa County Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the De Beque Gravel Pit LLC to begin excavating gravel from the 144-acre location in two phases over a period of 10 years. One of the conditions of approval requires the gravel company to close the RV park by the end of summer.

“The intent here is to clean up the existing land use,” said Alex Schatz, who works for the independent firm Banks & Gesso, representing De Beque Gravel Pit.

Latham, whose family recently sold more than 300 acres of land to energy-services company Schlumberger, off V and 45 1/2 roads south of De Beque, said the county has been dragging its feet bringing the RV park into compliance. She said she is upset that the sins of the RV park will now be inherited by the gravel company, allowing the current owners of the RV park to escape any responsibility.

Ross said the county has been slow in acting because it was attempting to work with the property owners to correct the violations and because the county was devising new regulations regarding energy-support services, such as temporary-worker housing.

“We certainly are very concerned about these violations,” Ross said. “We will continue to work with the property owners to get the violations corrected.”

De Beque Gravel Pit anticipates 20 to 25 trucks per hour hauling covered loads off the site and operation six days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The company said it anticipates a future concrete or asphalt batch plant
on site to process the gravel.


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