Commissioners put moratorium on recreation vehicle ordinance

Livin’ on Wheels campground owner Rick Kasee (standing, center) poses a question to the group.

It was approved two weeks ago, and already commissioners have put a moratorium on the Recreational Vehicle Park & Campground Ordinance.

An audience of about 30 attended Monday’s county meeting to voice their concerns over the ordinance. The primary objection that was referenced was to article 2.2(a) of the ordinance which sets a limit of 90 days in any six month period for residing in an RV. This limit applies to residency in an RV park and on private property.

Campground owners Jeremy Salter, Wallie Waters, Jim Savage and Rick Kasee, along with their families, RV residents and other concerned members of the community, were invited Monday to leave during the meeting’s formal departmental reports in order to meet informally with County Attorney Kendall Gross and Commissioner Brad Jones in a separate room.

Expounding on the 90-day maximum residency, guests spoke of contract workers whose contracts extend longer than this time, and one trucker stated he is on the road during the week and uses his RV as his permanent residence on the weekends. Residents asked if they are protected by grandfathering if they upgrade their current RV. 

Jones shared a history of the process, saying, “About five or six months ago, commissioners began talking about an RV ordinance ... What the county does not want is somebody having an RV and building a room off the side of it. What we are not wanting is people to add a carport or leave an old car there jacked up. We put (this ordinance) in place to not only protect you but to also protect residents in the county.”

In determining the number of days, Jones said, “We put the 90 days on there thinking that was a good length of time, not thinking about those who travel in construction. When you find a place to stay, that’s where you want to stay. What we do not want is for things to turn into trash.

“The board is not trying to hurt anyone in this audience by telling you what you can or cannot do. The thing about an ordinance is it can be changed.”

Several guests spoke of support regarding the entire ordinance except the residence requirement and asked that commissioners specifically address that one issue.

After allowing guests to voice their concerns, the entire group returned to the commissioners’ meeting room. 

In summarizing to the entire commission board, Gross said, “RV parks that were represented have described how they police their own operations and also talked about how (the ordinance) would cost them business. They have expressed that they have nurses and other long-term temporary employees who come in and spend longer than 90 days. They are asking that (the time limit) be lifted in its entirety, that there not be a restriction at all.

“Hearing some of the mechanisms for how they police themselves, that may or may not be a necessary issue with respect to people who are living in licensed and, therefore, regulated and regulatable RV parks.

“I believe the ordinance would be functional without that restriction at all.”

Gross then added that enforcement would also pose a problem.

“We are almost doing somebody an injustice by telling them they can only stay here 90 days and then they have to go,” Jones said.

Commissioners agreed the ordinance should be revisited and adopted a moratorium until a new ordinance can be reviewed. A draft of the ordinance will be placed on the commissioners website (metter-candlercounty.com) for review by the community. 

Commissioners will meet again on Nov. 18.

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