Planning Commission calls for clean-up at non-compliant Vernon RV park

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An RV park along Highway 79 in Vernon has drawn the scrutiny of the Washington County Planning Commission due to a code violation, with commissioners calling for aesthetic and functional issues to be addressed. 

Specifically, Commission Chairman John Gay said it was unknown whether the property’s sewer services were coming from the ground or a septic tank. 

Gay also said the park at 3523 Highway 79 had people staying in it longer than six months–generally the limit allowed for an RV park.

“In the past, it appears it’s more of a trailer park than it is an RV park,” Gay said.

The RV park has been operating since at least 2022 without prior official local government approval. A major development review application with a variance request was on the agenda for a Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, but the Commission ultimately voted to table the matter until their June meeting so the property owner could have time to clean up the site.

The property owner, Edmond Zlotea, was not at the Feb. 5 meeting or able to be reached for comment after. 

An engineering representative hired to review the property was at the meeting and answered questions from Gay about various aspects of the park.

Washington County Code Enforcement Officer Janet Riedel issued a citation and spoke about the property’s appearance to the Planning Commission. Pictures of the property were displayed during the meeting. 

“In my opinion, it looked pretty trashy,” Riedel said. “This one site looked more like a residence than a park, someone that would be there temporarily to vacation. They had all their personal possessions outside, as if they were living there. The general condition of the park itself–flower beds, everything–the grounds were mowed but everything else looked to be overgrown.”

Zlotea was ordered to cease and desist operating the park but did not do so.

People were also said to be living in a school bus on the property, with tinfoil put over the windows.

“I don’t think he has a standard of what he accepts there,” Riedel said.

Gay said there was “obstacle after obstacle” when considering approving the major development review application, which would allow construction on the site.

“What makes me think he’s going to follow the plan if he can’t even follow a cease and desist?” Gay said. “There’s too many problems.”

Gay said he didn’t know if the property was the right spot for an RV park.

Should the county’s concerns not be addressed, one option mentioned would be to take the case before a special magistrate–with local attorney Nate Nolin mentioned as a potential magistrate.