2012-06-27 / News

Pleasanton to impose 120-day moratorium on RV parks

Public hearings on July 2 and 5

On June 21, the Pleasanton City Council voted 4-3 to adopt the ordinance to impose a 120-day moratorium, in accordance with state law, on accepting, processing or issuing permits, authorizations or approvals necessary for the creation of development plats, construction or facilities related to RV parks. Voting against were Councilmen Abraham Saenz, Roger G. Garza and J.R. Gallegos.

When council began the discussion on directing staff to bring such an ordinance to council, Mayor Clinton J. Powell said, “We are definitely seeing RV parks pop up like crazy and we really don’t have any way to curtail that.”

City Manager Bruce Pearson said he and Powell had a conversation recently on the issue.

“It is becoming apparent to us we are going to possibly have some real infrastructure challenges sooner than later,” said Pearson.

He explained that RV parks of any size can use the same amount of water per unit that a household uses. This additional strain can narrow the gap built in the city’s system.

“If some of our developers getting ready to add additional phases to commercial developments or residential neighborhoods that are already there,” said Pearson, “we certainly don’t want to be in the position to say, wait just a minute. That is the one thing that we have prided ourselves in on this Eagle Ford Shale, is that we have twice the amount of water permitted that we use and we have space in our wastewater treatment system. Our council is poised to look forward in a year to expand that wastewater treatment system.”

Pearson said he was asking for the moratorium to allow the city to study the issue more in-depth and look at design standards and those things more aesthetically pleasing in the city.

Gallegos said he concurred with Pearson’s recommendation, but there is already an ordinance in place.

“We did allow these RV parks and we knew when we welcomed them that more and more would come,” said Gallegos.

He is concerned on water issues, such as selling the bulk water to different companies. Gallegos did not agree with the moratorium at all.

Pearson said that the RV parks, regarding water distribution, it is about the amount of water they can all ask for at the same time.

“When those folks are at home in the evenings or at home in the morning getting ready for work... It takes a tremendous amount of water distribution pressure and flow to get to those,” said Pearson.

As far as bulk water goes, said Pearson, most of it is in the middle of the night or during the day when most people are at work, so this takes a strain off the distribution pressures.

The two are apples and oranges said Pearson. Councilman Saenz also expressed he was against selling the water.

Councilwoman Kathy Coronado asked if the ordinance applies to a person who has a current park for manufactured homes and then decides to add RVs. City Manager answered yes, but wanted City Attorney Bobby Maldonado to give his opinion. Maldonado did agree that if the use is changed, yes it would apply.

Israel asked if it was possible to declare this an emergency, since people are aware this is coming. Pearson said the city does have to go through a second hearing and have public hearings, which have been set for July 2 and July 5, both at 7 p.m. at Pleasanton City Hall. Maldonado reiterated that hearings are required and no, it could not be declared an emergency.

Israel also asked about those RV parks that are pending. Pearson explained that if the RV park is permitted, they are allow to continue.

Gallegos did make a motion to dismiss action on item #20: directing staff to bring an ordinance for consideration to impose a 120-day moratorium on accepting, processing or issuing permits, authorizations or approvals necessary for the creation of development plats, construction of facilities related to RV parks. This was seconded by Garza, but the motion failed.

Engineer and surveyor Walt Rakowitz said he would be remorseful if he did not say anything on behalf of his clients. The requirements have stepped up. There is quite a demand and the RV parks are still coming. The city is a preferred location because of the water and sewer availability, said Rakowitz. The county requires a septic system, which is not as desireable. Powell asked him what side he was on and Rakowitz said he just wanted to provide council with some information.

An audience member from Austin also spoke. He runs a large trucking facility that provides a good payroll in Pleasanton and he plans on being around for a long time. He wants to expand his business ventures and see what is necessary with Pleasanton guidelines.

“An RV park culture, done correctly, offers a plus to a community,” said the gentleman.

Councilwoman Israel said there are some developers now making decisions towards long-term homes. This is what she would like to see, rather than an RV situation. Gallegos then made a point of order.

Following Gallegos’ failed motion, Coronado made a motion to direct the staff to bring an ordinance for consideration to impose the 120-day moratorium. This motion passed 4-3, with Gallegos, Garza and Saenz voting against.

Prior to the vote, Gallegos expressed his disagreement with this ordinance. If they weren’t going to welcome RV parks, they should have done it from the beginning, he said. He did not think such an ordinance is fair to the developers.

He used the City of Dilley as an example. Gallegos said that right away, they passed an ordinance not allowing RV parks in the city limits. Gallegos asked what the solution is if they go to existing RV parks and bombard them. Coronado said that Mr. Pearson, she believes, wants the moratorium to review current ordinances and decide what needs to be in place. Therefore, what is built will work best for all involved in the long-term. Powell added a moratorium will also allow staff to grasp what is happening, since it happened so fast. “This gives us a chance to sit back and really plan for it,” said Powell.

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