SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — It was a packed house at Monday’s Sioux City City Council meeting as dozens of people came to voice their support for a local bar and restaurant.
The Ickey Nickel received a notice from the city last week, telling them they could no longer allow people to camp at the facility. It’s something the venue has provided for the past 20 years.
“A place where we come together to raise money for charities and that’s what it boils down to and for someone to not like it we don’t understand it,” Ickey Nickel supporter Danny Myers said.
Supporters say the business has worked for Sioux City for more than two decades, providing a camping space for visitors coming into town for events.
“It was explained to me that it was zoned camping which evidently maybe it wasn’t or there was some misinterpretation there from before but it has always been a campsite. We were hoping to get grandfathered into say that we can do this it’s only on weekend basis,” Owner Mickhel Verzan said.
Sioux City’s Planning Division says zoning laws do not allow camping at the site and a recent tip from the public brought the Ickey Nickel campsite to the city’s attention.
“This whole thing started when one person called and made a big issue of this and I’ve known for years that they had camping out there and they have campground. We never thought anything of it but when the city gets a complaint, we have to follow up on it,” City Councilor Rhonda Capron said.
“We’ve had camping there every year for as many years as I can remember that I’ve been in Sioux city and its never been an issue,” Myers said.
During Monday’s council meeting, supporters wanted answers from the city to see how they can get the camp site up and running again.
“What we wanna see at a minimum would be a restroom facility whether that be a temporary facility or a permanent facility on the site. We also want to see a dumping station which is common for campgrounds,” Sioux City Community and Development manager Jeff Hanson said. “So when the campers do vacate the site after the events have completed that they have a place to dump the camper.”
“We’re all behind Ickey Nickel, we want to make sure it all works out, we have visited with them, we have worked on rezoning, and everything is going to be fine,” Councilor Capron said.
Verzan plans to update his camping site in order to meet the city’s regulations for a formal campground. This would include a campground dump area, outdoor restrooms, electrical services, and a paved lane to get into the camping ground.