A dispute Wednesday night at the Surfside Club escalated into a physical clash between the owner and a local artist, with the owner firing a gunshot.

The owner of the Surfside Club is swimming upstream in his quest for city permission to build an RV park near his riverfront bar, restaurant and marina north of Omaha.

Michael Walker faces a strong current of opposition from neighbors, several of whom cite a May incident in which Walker fired a gun into the ground during an argument with an artist who was skipping rocks from Surfside property into the river. Walker was not arrested or charged.

The artist, LaMar Barber, testified Wednesday at the Omaha City Planning Board meeting. So did Merica Whitehall, the Fontenelle Forest executive director who also oversees the Neale Woods Nature Center near the Surfside Club. Several neighbors sent emails opposing the RV park proposal. They included Douglas County Board member Clare Duda, who farmsnearby.

Duda, who attended but did not speak at Wednesday’s meeting, said he is worried that campers will trespass on his farm, harass his goats and vandalize the property. Whitehall said she is worried about the RV park’s effect on the environmentally sensitive area, which has special zoning for environmental protection, and on the nature center. She said she’s worried about noise, litter and traffic.

Whitehall said the campground would be “a threat to people, plants and animals.”

And Omaha city planners, while not opposed to the concept of an RV park near the Surfside Club, say Walker has a lot of work to do before his request for a permit for an RV campground could be approved. That list includes bringing his current property up to code and into zoning compliance, addressing concerns about flood-plain impacts and putting together a plan to protect campers’ lives.

The Omaha Planning Board voted Wednesday to postpone a vote on Walker’s zoning and special use permit requests for the property at 14445 North River Drive.

Walker defended his actions in the May incident involving Barber. That said, he told the Planning Board that the incident shouldn’t be a factor in his permit and zoning applications. Walker said traffic wouldn’t be a problem, and that the topography will help him control noise like he said he currently does at the Surfside Club.

He said Neale Woods “enjoys their traffic coming, and they enjoy their customers coming to their facility. All we’re asking for is a chance to enjoy our customers coming to our facility.”

Walker said he has a very successful business at the Surfside Club, which he has owned since 2013, and a long real estate and business history. He said he will have “a lot more information” when he comes back to the Planning Board. He proposes to develop land south of the Surfside Club into a campground with RV parking, a swimming pool and a shower house. It initially would have gravel parking spaces for 54 campers, with a possible expansion for 54 more.

Several people sent emails opposing the plan.

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A neighbor, transplant surgeon Dr. Byers Shaw Jr., said the campground would cause traffic congestion, noise and sewage problems, but “most egregious is the failure of the owners to recognize the high likelihood that the flooding we experienced this year … will get worse. Allowing anyone to build new living areas in the flood plain, and in a conservation overlay zone, no less, seems shortsighted at best, and potentially irresponsible.”

Another neighbor, Ryan Dennell, wrote that noise from “mediocre cover bands” at the Surfside Club “ruins the tranquility of living out in the country. … If an RV park is allowed to be installed, it will only further this problem.”

Barber, an artist-in-residence at Fontenelle Forest whose video of part of his May altercation with Walker went viral, gave the Planning Board his version of the incident. He said Walker fired a gun into the ground in front of him in an attempt to intimidate him.

“I’m bringing all that to your attention because this person is asking for further permission to have further influence on the great city of Omaha,” Barber said. “I just want to reveal the type of person that’s asking for permission to the Planning Board.”

Walker said he has been carrying a gun for 30 years, and that it was necessary to fire it in the May incident to defend his life.

“Never ever have I drawn my firearm, much less fired a round,” he said. “That situation I hope never happens again.”

Planning Board Chairman Greg Rosenbaum said the board wasn’t there to litigate the May incident, but to review Walker’s zoning and permit applications on their merits. The board’s vote was unanimous, and without discussion, to follow the Planning Department’s recommendation to postpone a decision because the applications were far from being ready.