Texas Town Struggles with RV Park Proliferation
People who bring their travel trailers to Ingleside, Texas, are not all families on vacation. Some are transients who move from job to job and who cannot afford to own a home.
At least that's apparently the opinion of Danelle Brown, who lives on a rural property in Ingleside and who does not want to see a travel trailer park in her neighborhood, according to The Ingleside Index, Aransas Pass, Texas.
"Who is going to protect our homes from theft … do you want an RV park in your neighborhood?" Brown asked members of the Ingleside City Council recently, before it tabled an amendment to the city's ordinance regulating recreational vehicle parks in the city.
At issue was a change in a proposal to allow permits to construct, alter or extend any travel trailer or recreational vehicle park area on property of at least two acres in size with a mininum frontage of 100 feet.
A previous zoning commission regulation had limited the size of an RV park to at least three acres.
Brown, who testified against allowing travel trailer parks in her neighborhood, asked what is to stop an RV resident from jumping a fence to "come rob one of us."
She also said she feared that a trailer park resident could harm one of her animals.
"What if somebody gives one of my animals something lethal and it kills them?" she asked. "Anything can happen.
"There are other places for a trailer park, are they going to start popping up everywhere?" Brown asked.
Another resident of the more rural section of Ingleside echoed that fear.
"This is just politics as usual in Ingleside, one man with buddies on the council," Bill Miller told the council.
At issue is a property on Kenney Lane that one resident has used as a trailer park in the past, and who might be able to use it for the same in the future if the council allows a minimum two-acre size for a travel trailer, or RV, park.
"Construction people aren't the goody goody people you think they are. It's a standing joke when you say you live in Ingleside or Aransas Pass. People say 'where's your white rubber boots?'" Miller said.
"You buy land in this town, build a fairly nice house and you want to keep it nice, and a shrimper moves in next door and builds a lean-to," Miller said.
He later said that anyone with a travel trailer should either be traveling or passing through on vacation.
Councilman Steve Diehl disagreed that everyone who lives in a travel trailer or a motorhome contributes to the "rubber boots syndrome" that Miller referred to.
"I will not agree that everyone who lives in travel trailers are of the character described tonight," Diehl said.
City Manager Jim Gray said the ordinance amendment was a final reading, and that the issue had been under discussion "for a long time now."
He also said there is a time limit for working in the city and living in a travel trailer.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Alana Seaman said the ordinance amendment "is opening the door for any two-acre lot to get rezoned."
She said she has traveled in a fifth-wheel travel trailer to such places as New York, and that many travelers want amenities such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and common areas.
"We went over this carefully to make sure there are public areas, public bathrooms … otherwise you will have a trailer park just like any other trailer park. You've got to have amenities, otherwise, you have people who are overstaying their stay," Seaman said.
Mayor Stella Herrmann said Ingleside should think a little differently in the future concerning people who travel or live in travel trailers or motorhomes.
"It's time we started doing things a little differently. Many RVs cost more than our homes here," Herrmann said.
Ingleside resident Jacob Lopez Jr. said he endorses the concept of travel trailer parks, but balked at the minimum two or three acres that would be allowed in the ordinance amendment.
"We need to accommodate workers and keep them here. If we have an ordinance that says stay here, work and leave, I think that's foolish. We need to keep and attract those people. Instead of them going to Rockport or Port Aransas, why can't we keep them here?" Lopez said.
"If you want to do something right, for once let's do it right," Lopez said.