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City to allow RV parking in mobile home parks

Ordinance will have to be written first

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POSTED: September 10, 2013 9:00 a.m.
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Matt Cardella stands next to Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas after presenting an award to the city council last week. Cardella is vice chairman of the Downtown Development Authority. The award was presented at a recent Georgia Downtown Conference for a water quality control project in Bryant Commons, which was designed by engineers Paul Simonton and Matt Barrow, who are also standing with the council.

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The Hinesville City Council on Thursday approved a special permit request by the owner of Happy Acres to convert 34 manufactured-home lots into recreational-vehicle lots.
However, the approval is contingent upon the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, city attorney and council members writing and approving a new city ordinance that governs RV parks. According to the LCPC, the 14-acre mobile-home park would use about 3 acres for RVs, which would have to include full bathroom facilities since none would be provided by the park.
“Gentlemen, to approve this request, we’re going to have to write the approval on the premise that we have to re-write our ordinance for RVs,” Mayor Jim Thomas said. “I need your input on this.”
Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier asked how the city would tax an RV if it could not be counted as a hotel. The city recently changed its hotel ordinance to rule out manufactured homes being used as hotels. Assistant Zoning Administrator Gabriele Hartage said there was ordinance that allowed for RVs to be parked in a residential area and be taxed like a hotel for the first 30 days. Also, after 180 days, the RV owner must either remove it or comply with regulations governing a mobile home.
Councilman Keith Jenkins began by confirming that Happy Acres is in a 100-year flood zone, and then confirming with Steve Welborn, director of inspections, and Police Chief George Stagmeier that the mobile-home park met all inspections requirements and that
the crime rate within the park was minimal.
“I don’t want to take credit for what the police department has done,” Happy Acres owner John Baker said. “They’re a great help … The (RV Industry Association) says the average RVer spends $78 a day to live. They’re going to stay somewhere. Why not here?”
Baker assured the council that every RV in his park would have to have full kitchen and bathroom facilities. He was followed by a Happy Acres resident, a retired Air Force command chief master sergeant, who told the council he thought he’d never live in a mobile-home park but was more than pleased with the conditions of Happy Acres and the integrity of the park’s owner.
Jenkins then confirmed the RV section of the park would be partitioned by a fence. He suggested that Baker assist the council with preparing the new ordinance due to his experience and knowledge about what the city needed to ensure RV parks were of the same standards to which mobile home parks are held by the city and state.
Frasier said that Baker was getting a “pretty good deal,” because in addition to getting his special permit approved, he would be involved in writing the ordinance that governed RV parks.
In other business Thursday, the council recognized the Department of Community Development, specif-
ically Assistant City Manager Ken Howard and Homeless Prevention Coordinator Daisy Jones, for their recent “Tied to Success” workshop.
Thomas  presented both Howard and Jones with certificates and plaques.
The council received the bronze award of excellence in economic development from Matt Cardella, vice chairman of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority.
The city was recognized during a Georgia Downtown Conference with the award for its Bryant Commons Water Quality Control Project.

 

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