Montana County Struggles with RV Park Regulation
Richland County commissioners in northeast Montana explained that the goal of getting all RV parks and other housing in compliance is under way but will take some time.
Members of the county planning board expressed their frustration to commissioners when they don’t have an answer to complaints from residents at their meetings, the Sidney Herald Leader reported.
Ray Trumpower of the planning committee said complaints are made every meeting about the lack of RV regulations enforced.
Oil and gas exploration in the region has brought in countless workers seeking housing, which has prompted proliferation of RV parks and other housing sources.
“The planning board is still getting our butts chewed over illegal RVs. Just about every meeting, we’re catching it.”
Commissioner Shane Gorder noted Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officials with county sanitarian Kelly Logan have examined properties, and the county has also been working with the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
“I just think there will be some catch-up time here,” Gorder said.
Commissioner Don Steppler added the county and the city are also considering trying to establish dump stations for sewage.
“Everybody is trying to work on something,” Steppler said. “It all takes time and has to meet DEQ’s blessing.”
Trumpower mentioned that with winter near, there are health concerns of newcomers trying to survive harsh conditions. “We have no plan. That’s a public health issue.”
A county meeting, organized by the county health department, is scheduled for Nov. 30 to discuss health safety concerns.
County attorney Mike Weber says progress is being made as far as having everybody in compliance. He noted when a subdivision is approved and the developer must be in compliance, that’s progress.
Officials do hope to educate the public more about the process. Planning board member Jerry Wznick noted a “vast majority” of people think if it’s their land, they can do what they want.
Steppler agreed that some people have that mindset. “But you also have neighbors. We need to get that point across. It has been addressed, but it will take time.”
The idea of having workshops for interested developers was also mentioned.
Commissioners hope to hear back from the Department of Public Health and Human Services on a letter to send to people who aren’t in compliance around the first of the year.
“DEQ has already been working with Kelly Logan about this issue,” Steppler said. “We should have a lot of these things in place before people start the spring construction season.”