By Meg Olson
Joan Dickerson is asking the Point Roberts community to get behind an amendment to county code that would allow a recreational vehicle rental business to operate out of the former location of Brewsters Fine Foods on Gulf Road.
“This is a long term business commitment to our community that will provide jobs and revenue,” was the
message she took to the boards of local organizations in March. She received unanimous support from the boards of the taxpayers’ association, the voters’ association, the chamber of commerce and the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee.
Ernst Daehler, owner of Best Time RV, is proposing to buy the properties at 1379 and 1373 Gulf Road to locate his Vancouver branch satellite office. The catch is that county zoning text specific to Point Roberts prohibits “recreational vehicle service, repair, washing facilities, commercial storage or sale,” along Gulf Road in the Small Town Commercial zone, along with cemeteries, additional RV parks, animal kennels and mini-storage. These prohibitions do not exist in the zone in other locations on the Point and throughout the county.
Dickerson said the proposed text amendment would not lift the prohibition for recreational vehicle businesses for all of Gulf Road, only the properties in question. In addition, she said, “this isn’t an RV park or storage place, it’s a rental company. If he has more than three vehicles idle on site for more than a day, it isn’t working.”
The primary use of the property would be to house the administrative offices of the Vancouver branch of Best Time RV, which would pick up clients at the Vancouver airport, shuttle them to the Point and hook them up with their vehicle. The style being rented from Point Roberts would all be the 21-foot “Sprinter style,” Dickerson said. Establishing a satellite office on the Point to serve the Vancouver market, mostly European visitors, allows Best Time RV to offer one-way trips to their other locations in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The vehicles would be cleaned and rented from the Point Roberts office from April through October when they would be moved to southern locations.
“He fell in love with Point Roberts, it fits the ‘boutique’ style of his business,” Dickerson said. “His business will be an asset to our community, providing year-round job security and tax revenue.” It would also support local businesses with everything from gas sales to services in the community his guests would utilize. “This business will bring a steady flow of European tourists to our community.”
At a March 29 “meet and greet” in Point Roberts, Daehler spoke with approximately 20 community members. “We want to blend in, be part of the community, and give back by re-opening Brewster’s Restaurant year ‘round.” He hopes to move his administrative offices to the Point this year and store vehicles off-site until the text amendment is approved and necessary improvements, such as screening, can be made.
With strong community support, county planners and county executive Jack Louws have said they would support the amendment.