MARYVILLE, Mo. — At Monday’s Maryville City Council meeting, Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland presented a comprehensive overhaul and reform of the city ordinances governing Mozingo Lake Recreation Park.
Heiland said that the chapter had not been significantly overhauled since it was first approved in 1996. He worked with Mozingo Recreation Coordinator Brandon Cartwright on a sweeping change to the code that made it significantly shorter — the chapter had included 74 sections, making it one of the longest on the books — and more suited to how Mozingo operates 25 years after the regulations were first codified.
Most of the changes were minor in terms of effect, like updating terms and reorganizing sections so that all rules governing the same subject are in the same place. Some addressed services that weren’t as big an issue in 1996, and still others were simply removed and will be a matter of department policy instead of city ordinance.
A complete list of changes is viewable in this story on maryvilleforum.com.
One of the major changes made to the code is the removal of the fees section to allow for more flexibility in setting prices rather than having to have price changes approved by City Council.
“We kind of make a joke about it, it’s a little funny, but when (City Manager) Greg (McDanel) and I first started … the price of hot dogs were regulated, as well as candy and soda,” Heiland said. “So we’ve been able to move a little bit away from that, but this is going to allow us to operate in a more businesslike manner. Mozingo does a lot of marketing events, a lot of programs, a lot of charity donations, and this helps free that up.”
Heiland said the new section aligns with a similar section in city codes for Maryville Parks and Recreation. Any permanent changes to base rates will still need to be reviewed by the Mozingo Advisory Board and approved by City Council.
“It just is an easier way for everybody to do business,” Heiland said. “And in terms of the public, they’re going to go look at the webpage or a brochure, something like that to find the prices (rather than city ordinances). … So we were comfortable with moving forward with this recommendation.”
The most significant changes to the 1996 processes come in the section about camping, where increased occupancy, the expansion of the RV campground and changes in technology have all contributed to new operational best practices.
One clarification to existing code makes it clearer that RV and tent camping are restricted to 14 consecutive days in a single spot, while non-reserved spots will continue to be allowed an unlimited stay. Heiland said the reason for the clarification was because the reservation system allows for staff to work with RV and tent campers more easily on where they can stay and for how long because reservations are made so far in advance.
Another change ends the practice of concurrent check-in and checkout times. Originally, both were set at 3 p.m. The newly approved language changes the checkout time to 1 p.m. to allow time for maintenance in between stays, or for a camper who arrives slightly early to check in early.
Payment of camping fees, however, will see the biggest overhaul in the section. The revised code will require that non-reserved campers to pay camping fees up front, which they were not required to do previously.
“So the way it works is that a camper will come in and they will look for an empty spot, and then at that point, they will leave a trailer behind, and we may not see them again for two or three days before they come back with their camper,” Heiland said. “This has caused some issues in terms of people not paying, and then … as soon as you get back with your camper, then we’re already addressing you that you need to pay for these three days and it’s created a lot of conflicts.”
Heiland said that a computerized system that wasn’t in use in 1996 should make it much easier to manage now. Campers will now be required to pay for the site they’re occupying, at which point they’ll receive a “paid” tag to put in a cardholder at the site to show that it is not vacant, and their payment will be logged in the computer system.
“I think people, once they get used to it, are going to enjoy it a lot more, because no longer will you have to bring a trailer out or wait until your camper’s ready — you can just run out over lunch, pay for your site, put your tag in, and come back whenever you’re ready,” Heiland said.
Additionally, the section now includes stiffer penalties for dumping wastewater at the campsites, with a warning on first offense and removal from the park on a second offense.
Other changes to the Mozingo regulations in city codes include:
- Golf car regulations were added for driving throughout the campground and the park, including requiring operators to have a valid driver’s license and limiting hours of operation.
- Fishing tournaments held from July 1 to Aug. 31 must end no later than 1:30 p.m. Tory Mason, fishery biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, recommended the change during the hottest summer months to reduce the amount of time fish spend in a live well before being returned to the lake, increasing survivability.
- The memorial program in the ordinances was removed and will now be a policy with plans to expand it. Heiland said Mozingo intends to create a Memorial Tree and Bench Program for donors to easily donate memorial trees and benches to the park.