Texas County Grapples with RV Park Regs
With many unknowns to come, the Tom Green County commissioners in central Texas used the tools at hand to prepare the county for recreational vehicle park developments outside city limits Tuesday (Feb. 19).
With a three-person quorum, the commissioners passed the amendments for the manufactured home rental community regulations — under which RV parks fall, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported.
“I’m still concerned about what happens through time,” said Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher, who represents Precinct 1.
One example he gave was that while county road enforcement falls with the commissioners, he was concerned private roads, which are not under the county’s authority, would not be maintained properly.
“Our hands are tied by state law,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Floyd said. “It’s the only thing state law allows us to do.”
The county will approve the property entrances and exits onto county roads, but he gave an illustration that if a convenience store in county jurisdiction had a lot of potholes, the county does not have the authority to force the owner to fix his private land.
Many of the environmental regulations, such as sewage and septic systems, will fall under rules set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“We don’t know yet,” Commissioner Bill Ford, of Precinct 4, said.
The county can only use what state law has provided to handle the many unknowns that will arise.
Unlike cities, which are generally more prepared for denser populations, Floyd said, remote counties are not as well prepared for the large influx of people that Tom Green County is expecting. State law, which the commissioners are to comply with, does not give the county a lot of detail.
Reagan County Judge Larry Isom, whose county experienced a similar boom a few years ago, said the county was prepared to meet the influx of activity ahead of time.
“We got lucky and got ahead,” Isom said. “We had somebody draw up subdivision laws for our county.”
The main issues he has seen in the past few years have been residents who did not comply with health codes or keep properties clean. The county also was hit hard by the big influx of people and traffic. Most recently, the county approved a 91-lot park to be put in place. For the most part though, Isom said, the county has managed the boom well. Parallel to the Tom Green County commissioners’ discussions of regulating RV parks, the city’s Planning Commission met Monday with further research and discussion on the issue.
“We didn’t make any decisions. We brought research from other cities and how they regulate RV parks,” said AJ Fawver, interim director of community development. “We got tidbits on how they do it.”
Fawver said the commission heard a lot of public concern regarding nuisances such as noise, congestion and property value. Like the county, however, the city of San Angelo is trying to ensure the proper regulations are in place before they are approved.
“We’re trying to be methodical rather than rushing into it,” she said. “As with any big issue, it does take a good deal of research and guidance rather than just throwing together something for the sake of time and sacrificing quality.”
Floyd said the county has not received any formal submittals from developers, possibly because they were waiting for the commissioners to clarify the regulations. County approval is required for all development submittals outside of the city’s jurisdiction.
“It’s not a perfect world,” Floyd said. “But it’s all the tools the state has given us.”