County pursues legal action against RV park
Canyon Creek runs the length of Burke Canyon, including near a spot where a conditional use permit (CUP) was issued for an RV park. A few months later it overturned following an appeal by neighboring residents. However, since the permit's rescission the owner has continued to operate the RV park illegally – prompting legal action from Shoshone County.
Photo by JOSH McDONALD
Staff Reporter | June 20, 2022 9:01 AM
WALLACE –– The Shoshone Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) are taking steps toward legal action regarding an overturned decision by the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) concerning an RV park in Burke.
In June of 2021 P&Z approved a conditional use permit (CUP) for Lisa Johnston, the owner of the RV park in question – who, at that time, had been seeking the Commission’s approval to build the multi-space RV park on some property near Burke Road.
However, after it was brought to light earlier this year that procedural errors may have occurred by officials with P&Z, the CUP was rescinded on March 1 by the BOCC and all operations were required to cease.
However, Johnston has not acted in compliance with the appealed decision, and has still been operating an RV park and campground on her property, according to her neighbors.
BOCC chairman Mike Fitzgerald told the News-Press that the county is pursuing both civil and criminal charges for the illegal operation.
Several of Johnston’s neighbors and many other Burke Canyon residents strongly opposed the CUP, including Bryan Stepro – who cited the county’s own code as part of his opposition and made it very clear that he felt that the approved CUP had been forced through by the former P&Z administration.
Stepro alleged during a January hearing that the former Shoshone County Planning and Zoning administrator had lied under oath about the specifics of ownership of the properties involved and that his lies were a part of the official record that allowed the CUP to be granted to Johnston.
The matter was reviewed by the county’s legal advisors prior to the rescission, who believed that the CUP’a appeal was warranted.
In a recent letter from the BOCC to Johnston, it was clearly stated that her CUP was no longer valid; That the property shall no longer function as a commercial property; That any and all signage, advertising (including online platforms), or anything indicating that a commercial property exists at the site must be removed; All furniture or items with the sheds on the property must be removed so that they do not indicate that they are for anything other than storage or utility.
Fitzgerald did say that Johnston could reapply for a CUP, but would have to resubmit her application with P&Z.