Campground stores an issue with County Board

EAGLE RIVER — Keweenaw County Planning Commission member John Soper met with the County Board recently to discuss proposed changes to ordinances pertaining to campgrounds, and among the topics discussed was stores being able to operate within newly established campgrounds and RV parks.

At issue was one line pertaining to store use, which reads: “Such establishments shall be restricted in their use primarily to occupants of the park.” The word “primarily” was scratched out.

Soper used stores at Fort Wilkins as an example, saying they sell to primarily to campers and those using the park.

“We had in here that the establishment should be restricted primarily to the use of the park, and said it’s not a business for the public, it’s a business for those using the campgrounds.”

Board member Del Rajala wanted to know why stores at parks such as Fort Wilkins and McLain State Parks are permitted to sell items to the general public, but those operating privately owned campgrounds could not under the commission’s proposal.

Soper said the reason for the word “primarily” was to minimize competition to surrounding businesses.

“We don’t want it to become a retail business,” he said. “We don’t want that.”

Rajala said the reason an individual opens a business is to make money, and as long as a business owner pays their taxes and obeys the rules, the Board is not there to say who can operate a store for the convenience of the public.

“I question why it’s even in there,” Rajala said.

Fellow Board member Sandra Gayk agreed, saying there it would be no way to enforce such a rule.

Rajala moved to approve the ordinance changes, with the exception of the line in question. Having struck it from the proposal, it was approved unanimously by the board.