Texas RV Park Plan OK'd After Lengthy Debate

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July 28, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

After lengthy debate by the city council in Llano, Texas, Billy Crow and his fiancee, Laura Kay Meier, got the OK to build a 40-site RV park in the town of 3,500 located north of San Antonio.

The annexation, rezoning and request for a Special Use Permit for property dominated the agenda at Monday night’s (July 25) council meeting, The Llano News reported.

Following two public hearings and no objections voiced by property holders either adjacent to the property in question or with residences within 300 feet, the council listened to testimony from Crow, owner of the property.

Crow and Meier hope to expand the park to 100 spaces, Crow said during testimony.

Crow presented the cuncil with a packet containing rules that he intends to enforce personally, as well as planning on being a "green" park and encouraging environmentally friendly behaviors.

He stated that there would be no waterfront development, saying that he doesn’t want to clutter the waterfront.

"I want the best for me, for my family and for Llano," he said. "I’m not going to build something Llano would not be proud of."

He also stated that he wished to dispel the negative connotations regarding RVers, saying that rather than transients, the typical demographic would be retired travelers who are upstanding folks.

Following his presentation, the council voted to approve the annexation of the property.

Rezoning Debate

The second item on the agenda regarding the Crow property was the subject of whether to rezone it from Agriculture to Commercial.

Because of the split decision of the planning and zoning (P&Z) board to recommend the rezoning, Mayor Reagor allowed representatives from the board to present both the majority and minority opinion on the issue.

Marc Sewell, a member of the board and one of the dissenters of the issue, asked questions about the benefit of the commercial zoning for Llano, and also whether the rezoning would be considered "spot-zoning." The council was unable to answer his questions at that point, due to rules of order.

Kelli Tudyk, representing the majority vote for the board, stated, "I’m not speaking for the whole of P& Z, but I represent the majority. From all of the information given to us, we found that (rezoning the property) would bring us positive economic development."

Once discussion was opened on the item, Sewell reiterated his questions to council.

Members of council stated that the benefit to the city of Llano would be the revenue from taxing the property.

Regarding spot-zoning, Alderman JR Decker stated that, after seeking advice from the city attorney, the council concluded that it did not fall under that category.

Sewell asked for the opinion from the attorney, but Mayor Reagor responded, saying that they were not at liberty to give the opinion without the entire council’s agreement to divulge the opinion as well as the fact that it was not on the agenda. (Mayor Pro Tem Mike Hazel was absent.) Reagor said that they could put it on the next agenda for consideration.

Sewell stated that according to his research, there were four indicators of spot-zoning: benefit to one owner, use is different to those in the surrounding area, use is not in accordance with strategic planning and no substantial benefit to the area. He said that he believed the property met all four of those requirements of spot-zoning. He also referred to a current zoning map, stating that the city has plenty of commercial areas currently being unused for new businesses to utilize.

"We have no water, no sewer," Sewell said, arguing that this is not the time for the city to be giving water away. Decker responded by informing Sewell that the owners of the property would not be allowed to have access to city water of sewer until the city is at least back to Stage 2, and that the city has determined that, when not in a drought, it can support the RV Park without being detrimental to current citizens.

Sewell also stated that there had been insufficient evaluation done on the proposed rezoning and that it was being rushed through.

He said that the most important matter to him was the issue of spot-zoning, which is illegal, he stated, and could mean a lawsuit for the city.

To this, Mayor Reagor responded, "We have lots of evidence that it’s not illegal and are prepared to defend it in court."

With discussion closed, the council voted to approve the rezoning.

Public Input

Kay Stewart, a resident of Llano, addressed council during the public hearing regarding the request by Crow and Meier to receive a Special Use Permit, allowing them to build the RV Park on their property.

Stewart expressed her concern for the upkeep of the RV park, explaining that she and her husband had visited a park near Mason and found it to be littered with beer cans and trash.

She also said that she was concerned about the water issue. She stated that she was told in 2003 when she moved to Llano that the water issue would be taken care of, but that it had not been fixed yet.

Jason Crow, a neighbor to the proposed RV Park, said that he supported the RV Park, saying, "I believe that Mr. Crow will do this the right way."

Following the public hearing, deGaffenried explained to council that the P&Z had recommended the approval of the Specail Use Permit with the added restrictions of a 100-space limit, screening and foliage, setbacks and activity restrictions.

Because the vote to recommend was unanimous, according to minutes taken at the meeting and the letter to Council from P&Z Chairman Todd Keeler, the council did not ask for commentary from the P&Z board members, however, Marc Sewell stated that he did not vote in favor of recommending the SUP to the council.

Mayor Mike Reagor allowed him to present his opinion on the SUP, with a three-minute time limit.

Sewell stated that by allowing the SUP to go through, the city would be giving away Llano’s sewer and water to transients. He stated that the park would cause a drain on law enforcement, to the detriment of the taxpayer. He also recommended that the City not allow the RV Park build in the flood zone.

Code & Permit Official Randy Farnsworth responded to the flood zone concern, stating that the city regulations state that nothing can be built less than one foot from the top of the flood plain.

Before voting to allow the SUP, Decker suggested that the council create an RV Park Ordinance and believe that the park rules presented by BillyCrow would be a good starting point.

According to the mayor, because it is not a change to the zoning, an ordinance could be created after the fact and the RV park would have to comply with it, rather than be grandfathered in.

The council voted unanimously to allow the SUP, with the agreement that an RV Ordinance be created, as well as including the restrictions proposed by the P&Z board.

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