RV Park ordinance

The Rockport City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 9, conducted a joint public hearing with the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) to consider amendments to the Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks ordinance, including but not limited to the creation of a new zoning district and special conditions for developing RV Parks.

When the hearing was closed, the P&Z voted 6-1 to postpone making a recommendation to the council until it can meet in a workshop with the council and City staff.

P&Z Chairman Ruth Davis cast the dissenting vote.

The council, later in the same meeting, took no action on first reading of the RV ordinance, which would establish an R-8 Recreational Vehicle Park Zoning District, revise non-conforming use regulations, provide regulations for RV Parks, and provide for other associated changes to the zoning regulations.

Joint Public Hearing

Rockport Director of Public Works and Development Services Mike Donoho opened the hearing noting the City initiated an RV Park moratorium in the summer of 2018 after Hurricane Harvey, to ensure development of such facilities met adequate standards, etc.

(Note: The city also began working on a new Comprehensive Plan after the storm, which was to address RV Parks.)

Donoho said there have been multiple meetings with RV Park owners, and added, “Everything is on the table tonight. We have made the changes (received) … and look to receive input.

“I sincerely hope nobody feels they’ve been left out of the process.”

He said the proposed changes will have little impact on current RV Parks.

“It will address new parks, and current parks that are expanding,” said Donoho.

Doug Webb said he didn’t think this is the time to “push this through.”

Tiffanie Hoover said Texas is the largest growing RV market.

“The pandemic helped the RV industry,” she said.

In regard to the proposed ordinance, Hoover said, “I support an RV ordinance. I’m not for this one. It’s not a good ordinance for Aransas County.”

She noted one can’t make a new RV park work under the ordinance as written.

Jeff Hutt said it seems strange the RV park moratorium has been in affect for more than two years.

He said the City will have a new council and new city manager in the future, and they should deal with the RV Park issue.

“Let the moratorium expire,” he said. “You can still turn down anything you want.”

Another man talked about property he owned, and how he planned to build an RV Park, but then the City annexed his property.

“I’m not really sure,” he said, “I hope I have this (proposed ordinance) all figured out.”

A time to further talk about the proposed ordinance was not discussed.

The P&Z briefly discussed the RV Park Ordinance immediately after the joint public hearing closed.

Donoho noted the RV Park moratorium ended Oct. 31. Since that time two developers have come forward regarding new RV Parks, and one current park owner wants to expand.

“Those three will be addressed using the current ordinance,” he said.

The P&Z generally participates in a joint public hearing, and then meets again the following week to further discuss the item at hand.

In this case, they met during the same meeting. One P&Z member noted this isn’t the way the P&Z usually processes requests.

It was at that time the motion was made to postpone P&Z action regarding a recommendation until a later date.

Comprehensive Plan

The Rockport City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 9, postponed action on second and final reading of the City’s amended Comprehensive Plan (CP) until its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23.

That action was taken after meeting for about 40 minutes in executive session to get answers to some legal questions.

After returning to open session, Councilwoman Katy Jackson made the motion to postpone action on the document until the council’s next regular meeting. It was seconded by Mayor Pro-tem J.D. Villa and carried unanimously.

(Note: The council, at its regular meeting July 27, approved with a 4-1 vote an Ordinance adopting an Amended CP for the City. Jackson cast the dissenting vote. The adopted CP included the removal of all references to “mixed use” and “co-living”.

During the “citizens to be heard” potion of the agenda, at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Kristie Rutledge asked for more transparency and citizen involvement because ordinances in the future will be based on what’s in the CP. She said it “appears” there have been backroom deals, and questioned the use of high school kids in developing the CP.

She said she asked for a revised copy of the CP Aug. 26 and was denied a copy.

Rutledge also said the city needs to involve taxpayers and shouldn’t use high school kids and the Chamber of Commerce to determine Rockport’s future.

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