ROBINSON, TX — The Otolith Fishing Camp, a local family business run by Keith Miller, was asked to shut down by the City of Robinson.
After working at Baylor University for 13 years, Miller decided to chase his passion and open the Otolith Fishing Camp. The weekly camp was geared toward all, but mostly children, and was a holistic approach to fishing -- covering basics, environmental impact and more.
"What was happening here was good--it was a special moment in time, and it really stinks it was cut this short," explained Miller in a conversation regarding the shutdown.
I felt it was time for a change, and my dream for a long time was to do fishing camps for kids...and in the eyes of the homeowners in the area, this was a great thing.
Because the camp was operating inside the residential neighborhood of Surrey Ridge in Robinson, Miller told Central Texas News Now that he personally knocked on the door of each home, in his 52-home-neighborhood, to personally ask each of his neighbors if they minded him renting the pond behind the homes to run his business. Miller explained, no one presented any opposition.
According to Miller, the Otolith Fishing Camp was contacted by city officials after a month of operation due to a single anonymous complaint being made in regard to his operation, based on "increased traffic" and "portable toilets."
The single complaint made by a neighbor, according to the City of Robinson, alerted the city to the operation and was the first step toward the business's shutdown.
"So one of the neighbors here anonymously complained that traffic was getting backed up---which is a ridiculous notion... and that was enough for the city to proceed with looking into what I was doing here, and that gave them the notion that I was running a big time business here and needed to be shut down," explained Miller.
Central Texas News Now reached out to the City of Robinson regarding the situation. They provided the following written statement:
According to residents, the Surrey Ridge neighborhood is a home owner association free community and while currently under construction, it does not suffer from highly trafficked streets.
Miller explained, "The city said if you continue to operate, which I had told them I was not going to, they threatened to call the state in for running an unlicensed daycare... Even after they shut me down, they've called for a state investigation of me... to me, that's a little bit over the line."
When Central Texas News Now met with Miller, the household was waiting for a state agency to arrive for their investigation into the Otolith Fishing Camp.
"I don't even like talking the business talk, I mean really all I wanted to do was help kids," said Miller.
An online petition has been started in support of the camp with several hundred signatures at the time of this article's publish date.
The City of Robinson explained their intention of discussing the Otolith Fishing Camp during the August 6 City Counsel Meeting by sending Central Texas News Now the following:
Prior to a Robinson City Counsel meeting regarding Otolith, Miller explained ""I didn't know how much I was affecting people and seeing this amount of support and seeing so many people speak out on my behalf is overwhelming...cause I feel like once people get a chance to hear me talk about what it is I'm doing and they get to hear the passion...my main goal out of tonight is to get people to listen, I know there is not going to be a decision tonight, I know that, but my main goal is to get people to listen and to understand that there needs to be some commonsense with some of these codes."
According to Miller, he has requested the violations the City of Robinson has found him in violation of, and explained he has yet to receive such a list. Central Texas News Now intends to request the same list and follow up with the City of Robinson.