City Wrestles With RV Park Regs, Use
How should a community handle an influx of temporary workers taking over the recreational RV parks in the area? That's what Brownwood, Texas, is dealing with right now.
The topic of RV parks — the need for more of them and how to regulate them — took up a considerable amount of time at the Brownwood City Council meeting Tuesday morning (Feb. 25), the Brownwood Bulletin reported.
The issues they tackled are because recreational RV parks in the area are full due to temporary workers who are building a pipeline.
In the end, council members overrode concerns expressed by Mayor Stephen Haynes and approved two action items related to RV parks:
• After a public hearing, council members approved, on first reading, changes in regulations to "vacation travel trailer/RV parks" including site construction requirements, landscaping requirements and the permissible length of stay.
• Council members approved, on second and third/final readings, a zoning change that will allow developer, homebuilder and real estate broker Ross Setzler to build a 25-space RV park that will stretch along a portion of a bank of the Pecan Bayou just outside the entrance to Riverside Park.
Discussion of the two items became intertwined, and the consensus was that area RV parks are full because of the influx of temporary workers who are here for construction of the Bridge Tex Pipeline through the northern portion of Brown County.
One point of contention: whether, under the new regulations, RV park residents will be allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days or 180 days. The Planning and Zoning Commission earlier agreed — although not unanimously — on the 180-day limit. Haynes wanted a 90-day limit, expressing concern that the longer limit will turn RV parks into mobile home parks.
Council members approved — on first reading — the longer 180-day limit.
City Manager Bobby Rountree said the city wanted to look at RV park regulations because of the possible impact on the parks due to increases in oil and gas production.
Along those lines, Haynes said it's necessary to protect the city in the event of a "sudden explosion of growth."
Addressing the 90-day versus 180-day time limit, Haynes said an RV park needs to be for tourists and "not a mobile home park." The 180-day limit, Haynes said, means a park stops looking like an RV park and looks like a mobile home park.
It's "less problematic," Haynes said, if residents stay as tourists.
Setzler, Haynes said, is a great person and a great developer who has done much for the community. But Setzler might not own the RV park he wants to build forever and "what we do today is forever," Haynes said.
Setzler said he agrees with Haynes on the importance of keeping Riverside Park beautiful, but recommended the 180-day length of stay. It is important that people who stay in RV parks because they're here for a job be allowed to stay to the end of the job, Setzler said.
"I hate to make somebody who is here working, trying to make a living, pick up and leave before the job is complete," Setzler said.
Setzler said there aren't enough RV spaces here and "we have people having to go elsewhere."
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