Board limits RVs, campers

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 08:21 PM

Henderson residents spoke out in support of the need for a zoning ordinance related to the use of campers and recreational vehicles during Monday night’s meeting of the Vance County Board of Commissioners.

Concerns coming from the public were mainly based around the reduction of property value to their homes, due to campers and recreational vehicles being used as permanent dwellings on lots in their neighborhoods.

The zoning text amendment presented by Jordan McMillen, Vance County planning director, added provisions to the current zoning ordinance, allowing for further regulation of the use of campers and RVs in areas where utilities are present.

Commissioners passed the ordinance, with all in favor for approval except Archie Taylor, the newest member of the board, representing District 2.

A provision to the ordinance had been made last September, stating RVs and camping trailers should not be used as temporary living quarters for more than 90 days in any 12-month period.

“That was not quite what we thought it would be,” McMillen said. “It became difficult to determine whether it was used for 90 days.”

The planning board discovered situations where campers were being left on a lot for more than 90 days, and used sporadically for lengthy periods of time.

McMillen and the planning board identified specifically that a state law is already in place, which prohibits campers and RVs from being permanently hooked up to septic tanks.

The revised zoning ordinance presented to the commissioners centered on the idea of utilities, which clearly identifies a camper or RV’s intent for permanent use.

With approval from the board, the new ordinance has already gone into effect.

It now states that recreational vehicles and camping trailers cannot be present on a vacant lot (absent of a permanent dwelling), with at least two utilities present, for more than 14 consecutive days.

“If it’s there for more than three consecutive days, then they have to wait 30 days to bring it back,” McMillen said. “Provisions are in place for holidays that fall on a Monday – we would give them four (days) on those holidays before saying it had to wait 30 days.”

While action on the zoning ordinance commenced last fall, the issue of campers and recreational vehicles being used as permanent residences, or not for their intended camping purposes, has been ongoing.

“This is not something that has been an issue just since September,” McMillen said. “We have several citizens that are concerned with lots being marketed for campers or recreational vehicles.”

Among concerned citizens was Susette McLendon, of Pool Rock Shores Lane in Henderson.

McLendon has been unyielding in her efforts to see an ordinance put in place, and she addressed the board with regard to the state law which prohibits the permanent hook-up of campers to septic tanks.

“The concern of being retroactive, as far as I’m concerned they’re breaking the law,” McLendon said. “They’re breaking what’s already a law. Forget it being a Vance County ordinance.

“I really don’t see appeasing those that may have the power or the water and also the sewer, and they’re using a camper.”

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com