As the number of contract workers living in RVs increases, Alabama’s Morgan County Commission made changes, limiting the duration of stay at new RV campgrounds to a maximum of 180 days and requiring RVs remain mobile.
County Engineer Greg Bodley said the three pages of amendments to the county’s subdivision rules were essential to defining the distinction between RV parks and mobile home parks to prepare for an expected increase in the total number of RV parks.
He said that the amendments apply to only RV parks established in the future or expanding existing parks.
Brodley said ensuring the RV homes are only temporary and that parks remain accessible is the primary goal of the amendments. Only rented lots are allowed.
“What we looked at is how we could carve out something for the RV-type environment,” he said. “The reason we have standard roads in mobile home parks is people live there. They have their belongings there. It is their house. When you look at RV parks, everything should be mobile. Those lots are for temporary residences.”
He said COVID may have boosted the RV industry and the demand for RV sites in the county.
“Some people quit staying in motels because of the pandemic, and people started traveling more like that,” he said. “They started staying in RVs and taking all of their belongings with them.”
He said more contract workers at the major plants and Huntsville live in RVs while working temporary jobs. The 180-day limit prevents RV parks from becoming permanent residences.
“Our goal is we don’t want (the RV) to be fixed to the property,” he said.
Bodley said the park owner must maintain interior roads, but they don’t have to be paved to ensure emergency vehicles can reach the lots.
“It is up to (the RV park owner) to make sure their interior road system can handle emergency vehicles,” Bodley said. “The roads don’t have to be paved. The county won’t take them or maintain them or have anything to do with the infrastructure with the development.”
The amendments are also designed to make it easy for those in RVs to leave and prohibit permanent structures on RV lots, such as storage sheds.
“If the RVer feels (the owner) is doing something that is unsafe like blocking roads so an emergency vehicle might have trouble getting in, the RVer can be able to unhook and leave, be gone in an hour.”
He said the amendments would focus on RV parks with accessible entrance roads, adequate drainage, approval from the health department and utilities, and meeting the standards to flood zones.
The amendments stipulate that recreational vehicles in parks have to be in temporary quarters, fully licensed, and road-ready. They must have wheels and rest on the car’s wheels or a jacking system.
“The RV must have no permanently attached connections, structures, or additions,” Bodley said.
He said that the amendments also state the size limit at 400 square feet for RVs, which is adequate space.
According to campergrid.com, Class A RVs, the largest in size, come with an average of 300 square feet.
Park owners will be penalized with a $1,000 fine per lot for every 30 days they are violating the laws.
Bodley said his office had received numerous calls from people looking to establish RV parks over the last year.
He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if we have more than one RV park owner in the county breaking ground before the end of this year.”
The Mountain Breeze RV Park manager in Morgan City said he favors the commission setting regulations for the county and issuing penalties to those in violation. Mountain Breeze has 45 lots, and ten of them are reserved for a stay of 10 or fewer nights.
Kv’s RV Park near Hartselle is considered the only other RV park in the county. The amendments do not apply to parks in municipalities like Point Mallard or Quail Creek Resort.
District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark, who made the motion to approve the new rules, said that the required regulations were specific to RV parks.
“We only had regulations for residential subdivisions, which included mobile home parks, and those really shouldn’t apply to a campground or RV park,” he said. “I know (Bodley) worked a few months on putting together a good set of regulations. We’re not looking to overregulate. These are commonsense things that shouldn’t be too hard to comply with.”
This article originally appeared on Yahoo News.