Texas RV Park Battles Restrictive Ordinance

Residents at the Corral RV Park in Tomball, Texas, love living the simple life owner and developer Mike O’Brien has created for them.

Aerial view of Coral RV Park in Tomball, Texas. (Source: corralrvpark.com)

But O’Brien’s plans to expand the park could force most of those residents out due to a zoning ordinance that limits tenants to only a 90-day stay, a restriction O’Brien was unaware of, yourhoustonnews.com reported.

According to city officials, the restriction was put into the ordinance in 2008 but it is not clear why the restriction was included.

Residents, along with members of the Corral RV Park Association, have come together with a signed petition to let the Tomball City Council know they want to stay and the 90-day restriction should be taken out of the ordinance.

O’Brien, along with 50 residents, attended the Tomball City Council meeting January 16 (2012). Council members were scheduled to make a decision on the ordinance. However, the council agreed to table the item until next month in order to review the information from O’Brien, the residents, and the city staff.

The Background

O’Brien, owner of K.E. Jams Investments Inc., owns and operates the small, quiet park, which is home to about 120 permanent residents. He purchased the original 10-acre park several years ago. Over the years, he purchased surrounding property and now has about 34 acres. The RV park spans about 15 of those acres.

The park has 158 spaces with water, electric and sewer hook ups. Although most are RVs, Lyn Koschel, who has managed the park for eight years, said there are four remaining mobile homes and two park models.

According to yourhoustonnews.com, this is the second time O’Brien has been to the council for approval to develop 23 acres of what he calls “dead land” adjacent to the RV Park.

100 foot open pull through sites at Coral RV Park in Tomball. (Source: corralrvpark.com)

According to O’Brien, he, the city staff, and council at that time could not agree on the plans for the park. O’Brien decided to scrap his plans at that point and invested his money in other projects. However, with new council members and staff members, O’Brien once again is looking to move forward with his plans.

While working with the city on his current plan, he learned about the 90-day restriction and decided he needed to address that with the council. Although the ordinance was passed in 2008 and the residents in the existing park are grandfathered in, the expansion would cause the whole park to fall under the ordinance and those residents would have to vacate the park.

“We need to get that off the books,” O’Brien said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Stoll said he has been out to the park to meet with both residents and O’Brien regarding the expansion.

“I don’t get involved in the day-to-day business of the city, but I wanted to sit down and listen to their concerns,” he said. “So when it comes (back) to council, we can discuss it as a group.”

Stoll said he is impressed with the quality of the park.

“I am not in favor of that 90-day restriction,” Stoll said. “Just because they live in an RV park doesn’t mean they are not citizens of Tomball. I’m not in favor of them enforcing that … if he expands that park and they tell them they have to move.”

O’Brien said he has developed strict regulations for potential tenants of the park. He said that is the best way to maintain the quality of the park, not the 90-day restriction.

Tenants pay month to month, which gives O’Brien the ability to evict tenants that do not follow the guidelines of the park. Rental fees begin at about $355 a month for a back-in lot and go up to $520 for a pull-though lot with full hookup.

“We cater to the older generation that is young at heart,” he said. “We don’t discriminate. The baby boomers are retiring and they don’t want to hassle with a house.”

Tomball Police Chief Robert Hauck said his department never has responded to the park for a crime related call.

Koschel said the average age of residents in the park is mid-50s. She said there are a number of veterans and winter Texans as well.

Concrete pull through sites at Coral RV Park in Tomball. (Source: corralrvpark.com)

“It’s a way of life, freedom,” Koschel said. “You have the elderly, who want to be close to family and maintain their independence.”

Despite the hang-up with the ordinance, O’Brien said he is optimistic that the council will listen to the residents and remove the restriction.

“Tomball is still strict on its regulations,” he said. “But the new group there has a much more commonsense approach. I feel the expansion will go on.”

Coral RV Park is a Good Sam Park.

Details

Coral RV Park

Address: 1402 S. Cherry St., #37, Tomball, TX 77375

Phone: (281) 351-2761 or (877) 263-0417 (toll free)

Website: corralrvpark.com

Worth Pondering…

There’s no better place than Texas to start over.

—John Connelly

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