On Wednesday night, the Wentzville Board of Aldermen reversed an earlier decision to not allow RVs to camp at Rotary Park during the Renaissance Faire.
The board had banned RVs after an incident during last year's event when sewage from an RV was found dumped on the lower field where Renaissance Faire merchants and performers park their RVs for a maximum of six weeks during the event.
Two directors from the Renaissance St. Louis (RSL) board spoke during the work session. Bill Martin, one of the directors and a vendor at the fair, said that the camper that was responsible for the incident was not associated with the fair.
Alderman Forrest Gossett said that he didn't have a problem with the RVs, but that he was against any tent camping in the Renaissance Faire site.
Mary Jo Dessieux, Director of Parks and Recreation, said that tent camping had a long history at the event, but that the park was not properly set up for RV campers. She also said that other groups, such as the Boy Scouts, have camping events at Rotary Park.
Wentzville Police Chief Lisa Harrison was not present at the meeting, but the agenda packet for the meeting offered this viewpoint from the police department:
Law enforcement has no way of knowing who has legitimate business in the park after closing and who does not if some are allowed to camp and some are not. If lists are provided of who is camping, lists do not prevent those on the list from bringing in guests. There are numerous other safety concerns to be discussed, but PD does not support any camping in the City's parks, not just by Ren Faire, but by any group.
Bob Stanza, president of the board of RSL, which is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, said that organization planned to require RVs to have their waste tanks pumped weekly. He said that they would also hire additional security overnight to patrol the camping areas.
Additional security could add significant costs to the event. The IRS 990 forms for Renaissance St. Louis indicate that the organization lost $14,830 in 2010 and $35,317 in 2011 (revenue less expenses). When Patch asked Stanza for figures for 2012, he said that they were not yet available.
The board reached the consensus that they would allow both tent camping and RV camping, but Alderman Mike Hays emphasized RSL's part of the deal.
"If something happens, we’re going to hold you responsible, " Hays said.