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Cookeville Council Unsure About Impact Of RVs In Mobile Home Park Changes

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Council Unsure About Impact Of RVs In Mobile Home Park Changes

It’s like putting toothpaste back in the tube.

That’s how Cookeville City Attorney Dan Rader described the city’s proposed zoning code changes regarding RVs in the city’s existing mobile home parks. The Planning Department wants to clean up conflicting letters and permits that have been issued over the years that allowed the practice. But at a work session Monday, the discussion seemingly kept uncovering potential issues. Rader said the proposed changes will not fix old problems, but gives the city options in the future.

“This gives us more enforcement rules than we currently have,” Rader said. “We don’t have any right now. And if we pass this, we at least have something where if the codes department determines it’s junk, then we can cite them and have it moved or fine them $50 a day.”

Council Member Eric Walker said he feared the ordinance changes actually opened the city up to having more temporary RVs used as permanent residences. The issues of sewage, winterizing, and density were also discussed with RVs. Council members will vote Thursday night on whether to move forward with the new rules approved by the Planning Commission or perhaps add additional stipulations.

“They’re not made to like, the standard of building at all,” Walker said. “And I think that I feel like we’re opening up the door a little bit here on this. And we’ve also just did the RV Park. We’ve opened up regulation to do an actual transient RV park which actually has a higher standard than these.”

Under the Planning Commission’s approved changes, RVs would need a valid registration and license plate. They could not be junk vehicles, under strict guidelines outlined by the ordinance.

“There’s a completely different definition for an RV in Tennessee Code than there is for a mobile home, and they have to comply with that as well,” Rader said. “And I think this thing that Mr. (Jon) Ward and the Planning Commission recommended, it really has more latitude to make the mobile home lot owner remove these if they become where they’re just dilapidated and they can’t run and things like that. So I think we really have more teeth than we currently have based upon the provisions in this amendment.”

The changes only impact the city’s seven current mobile home parks, all of which are non-conforming with current zoning. As such, they are grandfathered and not subject to the city’s rules changes implemented over the last year. City Manager James Mills said all seven parks were established prior to city codes being enacted 25 years ago.

Rader said the key to moving forward was agreeing on changes to the code, then asking codes officials to strictly enforce those regulations uniformly.


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