Texas City Sides with RV Park Owner's Plans

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February 16, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Aerial view of the Corral RV Park in Tomball, Texas.

Members of the city council in Tomball, Texas, a Houston suburb, approved a local businessman’s plan to expand Corral RV Park and lifted a 90-day restriction that would have forced out many of the park’s existing residents.

After a short discussion, council members unanimously approved city staff to remove a restriction from a zoning ordinance that limited tenants to only a 90 day stay. Mike O’Brien, owner of the Corral RV Park, learned about the restriction when he approached the city about expanding the RV park late last year, reported.

Along with O’Brien, dozens of residents asked the council to remove the restriction so they could continue to call the park home.

“I think it is in the city’s best interest to eliminate the 90-day restriction for many different reasons,” said Councilman Mark Stoll. “We don’t have limits on people in other rental properties.”

Councilmen Field Hudgens and Preston Dodson echoed Stoll with Hudgens adding full parks are a good sign for both residents and the community.

Councilman Derek Townsend said the restriction was just another layer of government that wasn’t necessary.

“I think it is ludicrous that we are telling people what they can do with their business (regards to) a time frame on how long their (tenants) can stay there,” he said.

According to city officials, the restriction was put into the ordinance in 2008 but it is not clear who or why the restriction was included.

Park expansion

O’Brien requested three additional zoning ordinance amendments in order to expand his park over what he calls “dead land.” The land, he said, has a drainage ditch on the west side of the park and power lines on the north side. There is also a pipeline that runs underground in that area.

Along with asking the city to remove the 90-day restriction, O’Brien also requested the council remove the minimum RV unit size, reword the minimum distance requirement for RV parking pads and remove the requirement for walkways constructed in the park.

O’Brien told the council that the streets in the park would be 24 feet wide to allow people to walk safely on the sides of the street and give residents more room to maneuver their vehicles and RVs.

Hudgens asked O’Brien why he was requesting the changes since that is not how the current park is constructed. He added he was concerned about the “sardine effect.”

The 88 new pads, O’Brien said, were more designed for tenants that use the park for shorter amounts of time, not necessarily for permanent residents.

He added he wanted the spaces far enough apart to appeal to tenants but they also needed to be close enough to fit the number of spaces designated in his business plan.

Hudgens said it was difficult to make a decision on the requests since O’Brien did not have a definite plan in place for the construction.

“I think we are fishing right now and we can’t see through the water,” Hudgens said.

Mayor Gretchen Fagan said in order for O’Brien to move forward with that plan, the council needed to make a decision on the amendments to give him the guidelines to design the park.

“This is a man’s private property in which he is running a business,” Townsend said. “And if he can meet the safety requirements for the police, fire and EMS to do their jobs … I think we need to take heed to that and I don’t think government should be stepping on their toes.”

The council approved the additional amendments 4-1 with Hudgens voting against it.

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