502-Site Texas RV Park Concerns Neighbors
The Friendly Village Mobile Home Park has been in north Arlington, Texas, nearly 40 years, longer than many of the surrounding houses, but a proposed deal has some residents worried about who might be coming to the neighborhood, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The owner of the 38-acre mobile home park is considering creating a recreational vehicle campground, a use that isn't allowed under the city zoning ordinance. The park has about 251 mobile home pads; the owners are proposing a campground with up to 502 RVs as mobile homes are removed.
"In several cities, if you have mobile home zoning, you can put recreational vehicles in that community. Arlington is not that way," said attorney Kirk Williams, who represents the property. "We are simply asking for that flexibility."
Some north Arlington residents, including Councilman Mel LeBlanc, say they are concerned that the "mishmash" campground will generate more criminal activity and litter as well as additional traffic on Ballpark Way as large motorhomes and travel trailers go in and out of the park.
"This is a residential neighborhood. We don't want to turn it into a campsite," LeBlanc said. "It's not going to be the residential housing we want to encourage in Arlington."
The first public hearing on the proposed campground was scheduled last month before the Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission, but the owners have indefinitely postponed a rezoning request to address neighborhood concerns, Williams said.
"If people are opposed to it, they need to be opposed to it because they know the facts," said Williams, who said a new date for bringing the case before the city had not been set.
The park's proximity to the entertainment district makes it an ideal location for tourists and visitors who travel in RVs, Williams said. Though the park is within sight of Six Flags Over Texas, Williams said it is too far from Cowboys Stadium to be practical for tailgaters.
"That's not our interest," he said.
LeBlanc said he'd rather see the aging park redeveloped with houses or an upscale mixed-use development that would add to the city's property tax base. The slightly smaller Los Robles Mobile Home Park is next to Friendly Village.
Judy Gowin, coordinator for the Holt Road Neighborhood Association, said she was ready to fight the proposed campground before meeting with Williams last week.
"I am no longer prepared to go and get a petition now that we've heard from them. We are good at raising hell when we want to, and we don't want to," Gowin said. "I really felt they were committing to preserving the neighborhood, the trees and their long-term residents."
Former north Arlington Councilman Joe Bruner said that his first reaction to the campsite was "over my dead body" but that he now views the proposal as an opportunity to rid north Arlington of some of its manufactured homes.
Bruner said he would be comfortable with the campground as long as the owners build a tall masonry wall to screen the park, which is now surrounded by a chain-link fence.
"I think it really does offer an opportunity that all the citizens need to look at," he said. "If we can get them to put a wall up and hide all the ugliness, we should look at it. If not, let's keep it the way it is."