Vicksburg Tables Controversial RV Park Plan
A decision to change a Vicksburg, Miss., ordinance reducing the amount of land required for an RV park from 10 to 7.85 acres was tabled by the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday (March 16).
A public hearing was held for Mike Patton, who along with his brother, Billy, the former Vicksburg mayor, wants to open an RV park and sales lots on 7.85 acres of land. The land neighbors an existing RV park and is located across the highway from the Vicksburg Municipal Airport, according to the Vicksburg Post.
“I’m definitely not ready to make a decision on this today,” said South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman following the hearing. “What you’re asking us to do is change a city ordinance. That’s a pretty major deal.”
Beauman said he would like to further discuss the issue with Zoning Administrator Dalton McCarty and City Attorney Nancy Thomas before ruling on the ordinance change. North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield agreed. Mayor Laurence Leyens was absent. The aldermen did not indicate when the issue would be revisited.
Odie Smith, owner of neighboring Rivertown Campground, reminded the aldermen the standards he was held to prior to opening his RV park in 2001.
“When I put mine in, you guys held my feet to the fire,” he said, noting the sewage, water lines and fire hydrants he was required to install on his 17-acre property.
The Pattons were given a special exception from the city zoning board on Feb. 3 to operate a used car and RV sales lot on their property, as well as to use an existing manufactured home on the premises as a sales office. However, the board unanimously rejected changing the ordinance. The board had asked the Pattons to purchase additional land east of their property to meet the ordinance requirements, but Mike Patton said Monday the land would be unusable even if it could be purchased.
“It’s a big swamp and ditch. It’s unusable, and there is no more usable land in the area. Even if we had 20 acres, we would only use 7.85 acres for the RV park,” he said, noting the planned layout of the park includes 65 spaces for RVs measuring 10 feet larger than the minimum size required by the ordinance.
Along with the RV park, Patton said used cars and about 10 RVs, new and used, would be located on the property.
“It wouldn’t be an unsightly situation whatsoever. But if that tends to bother the campers, we would remove the cars,” he said, adding the RV park “would be our main source of income.”
Smith said he had wanted to use his property for mixed use, too, when he was planning his RV park, but was told by the board he could not include a mobile home park with the campground.
“You brought me to a screeching halt,” said Smith. “This is no reflection on Mr. Patton, I just met him, but if it works for one, it should work for both.”
The ordinance requiring RV parks to operate on 10 acres of land was created in 1996, said Thomas, and is aimed at ensuring the parks have adequate green space, amenities and room for emergency services, if needed.