Texas County Braces for Oil Boom – and RVs
With an impending oil boom headed for Tom Green County in Texas, commissioners Thursday (Jan. 31) tried to figure out how to regulate the inevitable development of recreational vehicle parks.
In a courtroom filled with developers, local officials and interested residents, the commissioners held lengthy discussions and heard concerns. They eventually concluded that any recreational vehicle parks outside city purview would fall under the same regulations as manufactured-home rental communities, the San Angelo Standard Times reported.
“It’s different for cities and counties,” County Judge Mike Brown said at the special meeting. “Counties can only go with what is established by state law, and the state hasn’t defined RV parks.”
By contrast, the city can define how developments within city limits are regulated. Without clear guidance from state law, the commissioners sought public input on whether RV parks should abide by the same regulations as manufactured-home rental communities or subdivisions.
“We need something that’s a hybrid — something in the middle,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Floyd. “We need to establish the minimal guidelines for the health and safety of the people.”
Some key issues discussed included septic tanks, paved lots and numbered addresses to help emergency vehicles locate the homes. Floyd pointed out that, regardless of which set of regulations the parks falls under, the septic systems would still be regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
A few developers at the workshop expressed concern that paving RV lots could get expensive, but the commissioners thought it necessary to reduce dust and to ease access for emergency vehicles during rainy weather.
Attendee Russell Gully, an SKG Engineering employee, estimated that one of the more durable surface options would cost roughly $1 to $2 per square yard.
Commissioners pointed out that spending more upfront could prove a good investment.
“You’re going to have to do maintenance anyway,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Bill Ford. “Guys with nicer parks make more money.”
Ford also noted that post-boom guidelines had to be set. When the boom calms down, Ford said, the county could have a lot of abandoned RVs — and subsequent costs — to deal with. He said he felt it was important to establish regulations for those issues now, as it is impossible to tell how long a boom will last.
Floyd requested that the subject be placed on Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda to clarify some of the language in the regulations.
“We’re looking at all the regulations for RV parks,” Brown said. “Stay tuned.”