Parkland Inc. received approval to develop a recreational park east of the Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery property in Seymour. Photo Courtesy of Independent Land Surveying
Parkland Inc. received approval to develop a recreational park east of the Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery property in Seymour. Photo Courtesy of Independent Land Surveying
Gregg Pardieck and his father, Ralph, have discussed developing a recreational park in Seymour for several years.

Developing Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery into what it is today, however, took priority.

In the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Pardieck and Todd Storey, who is part of the Parkland Inc. management team, seeing a considerable upsurge in requests from RV owners to use the winery property at 6361 N. County Road 760E.

Talks on developing the RV park picked back up.

“As COVID has caused people to think a little bit more about vacations where they are not engaging other people, this has taken hold,” attorney Jeff Lorenzo said while speaking on behalf of Parkland Inc. during Tuesday night’s Seymour Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at the Seymour Police Department.

The plans call for 45 RV slip spaces, 20 cabins, two ponds, a playground, a bathhouse and a gatehouse east of the winery area.

“Usually when I discuss what Seymour needs, frequently I think about industry and business. The younger people typically think about more recreational activities, and this is precisely that,” Lorenzo said.

A land use variance request received a favorable recommendation from the Seymour Plan Commission on Sept. 9 on a 9-1 vote with Dave Eggers casting the lone nay vote and Jeri Wells absent.

That was passed on to the BZA for a final vote, and it was approved 3-1 with Eggers, who also serves on that board, again voting no.

No one from the public spoke in favor of or against the proposal Tuesday night, but BZA members shared their thoughts.

The property is zoned R-1 (single-family residential), R-S (single-family residential zoning district), C-1 (neighborhood commercial) and I-1 (light industrial). The land use variance was requested due to C-1 and I-1 not allowing RV parks, but they could be allowed as conditional use under the other zoning designations.

Eggers expressed concern about granting a variance across a broad number of zoning areas.

“What we are seeking a variance for doesn’t allow (Pardieck) to do anything other than what is in the application,” Lorenzo responded. “I know the zoning categories are very broad, but he can do one thing, and that’s all. He can’t do everything that’s allowed.”

Eggers then said he would have liked to have seen a business plan, including who would monitor people going in and out of the RV park and what the enforcement code would be.

“If you were going to a bank to borrow money to do this, you would need a business plan, you would need a formulated idea and a conceptual agreement of how this business is going to be ran, how it’s going to be dictated, how it’s going to be statured. I don’t feel like we were given any of that information,” Eggers said.

“I would have liked to have seen something along those lines of structuring since it is broad, since it is wide open, since it is new to the community,” he said. “I think that’s what our citizens want to see, and I think that’s what we need to do to hold those areas responsible for that. I would like to see this structured better and to know what our criteria lies in that.”

BZA President Rob Kaufman said the board can’t dictate what time people go in and out of the RV park, and board attorney Christina Engleking agreed. According to ordinance, rental would have a maximum of 90 days.

Storey said based on the RV owners he has met in the past 18 months, he feels good about moving forward with the RV park.

“These people don’t leave. That’s why they come here. They don’t want to go anywhere. They pull in, they watch the sunset, they have a glass of wine, they sit in their campers and they enjoy the evening,” he said. “These are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and some of the most respectful people you’ll ever meet.”

For those wanting to venture into the community, Storey said he tells them to experience a local restaurant.

“We don’t want to be a restaurant. We want to serve you wine, whether it’s the beginning of your evening or at the end of the evening, and go patronize the rest of our community,” Storey said. “A lot of them come back and say they can’t believe this little town even exists. We’re hoping to bring people to this community, that they get out and enjoy it.”

As for the business plan, Lorenzo said while he respects Eggers’ thought on that, it’s not required under the ordinance. It does, however, require engaging a surveyor and an engineer and submitting an engineering and design plan, which they had created by Independent Land Surveying of Brownstown.

“I don’t know that we can fully articulate everything we intend to do because we haven’t gotten there yet,” Lorenzo said. “… I understand what you want, but I think if Todd’s the manager, you’re going to have a pretty good plan.”

Even after Storey said they determined what would fit on the property and included that in the proposal, Eggers still had concerns.

“We venture into something new in this community and we don’t have everything set in place on what we’re doing, it ends up not being what it’s intended,” he said. “Conceptually, I think (the RV park) is a great idea. I do. It seems like when I ask questions, I get not the answer I’m expecting to get.”

BZA member Jim Myers said he thinks the RV park will be “a real asset for our community” before the board voted to approve the land use variance request.

After the meeting, Storey said he hopes to see construction start in the spring of 2022 and the RV park to open later in the year.
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