San Angelo No Nearer an RV Park Resolution
The San Angelo (Texas) City Council tried to find the line between control and free enterprise in coming recreation park developments at a well-attended joint meeting with the Planning Commission today (April 2).
With city staff receiving more requests of RV parks intended for long-term or permanent usage, the commission requested council direction on regulatory mechanisms, the San Angelo Standard Times reported.
“It seems to be council’s direction that recreational vehicles in their nature are temporary,” said Mayor Alvin New.
A 26-member Housing Committee was established and has held a few meetings so far to address housing priorities, said City Manager Daniel Valenzuela.
Subcommittees will be meeting from Wednesday through Friday this week, Valenzuela said, and will also address temporary housing issues.
“I feel like RV parks that serve temporary residents are very important to our community,” said Councilman Dwain Morrison. “We need specific rules to govern these permanent living parks for over 30 days.”
Morrison said the long-term RV parks should be dealt with differently and should have a designated location.
“I’m interested to see what AJ (Fawver) and her staff are investigating in what not to do,” said Councilman Johnny Silvas.
In response, Fawver said while staff members are still in the research phase, they have looked at what some of the unintended consequences in other communities have been. They have pulled other facts including zoning regulations in other communities and Fawver said they would be able to gather additional information as the council desires.
“I’m not against growth and I’m not against our city adding to its population … I don’t have anything against the oil workers,” said Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer, “But I do strongly believe we shouldn’t allow (more RV parks) in the city limit.”
As she said in a previous meeting, she said putting new parks together outside of city limits would help the city police them. Residents have contacted her, she said, and asked that the council not allow San Angelo to become “another Midland or Odessa.”
“We need to have in place a written set of guidelines just governing RVs,” she said. “But I don’t want them in city limits.”
Fawver reminded the council that manufactured housing parks districts only allow 30% of total units in the park to be RVs.
Councilman Kendall Hirschfeld warned about being overly technical about regulations. For instance, he said, an RV owner could simply move the vehicle a few feet to fulfill the requirement for length of stay at a particular location.
“Lack of housing exasperates most other problems they have out there,” said Councilman Paul Alexander.
He gave an example of the need for a larger police force with the increasing population.
“We can’t get them here if there’s no housing,” he said. “Lack of housing drives up rent. If you’re a renter you’re poor and if you’re an owner you’re rich … it creates economic imbalance.”
On the one hand, Alexander said, the city needs to maximize on housing but it needs to bear in mind quality of life even after the boom slows and oil field-related workers begin to leave.
“We’re not necessarily solving our problems by shoving them out of town,” Alexander said.
He illustrated a perception of San Angelo from visitors from out of town seeing an “oil town” as they enter the outskirts of the city, which changes as they enter city limits.