A set of new regulations meant to clean up and move derelict recreational vehicles in unincorporated parts of Galveston County will be rewritten after the county collects input from community groups, the commissioner behind the effort said.

It could take as long as six months for the new rules to be developed, County Commissioner Darrell Apffel said Friday.

The schedule is a deliberate tap of the brakes on a proposal that last month was in front of county commissioners for an approval vote.

The county had developed a set of new rules for recreational vehicles parked in unincorporated areas of the county. They would have required all RVs in the county to be licensed and permitted, and to be moved every 180 days.

Similar rules already exist for RVs parked in federally defined flood zones, but the new rules would have applied to RVs not parked in flood zones.

County officials said the rules were being expanded because all areas of the county are prone to floods. The rules would ensure that RVs are mobile in an emergency evacuation. Alternatively, RV owners would be allowed to elevate their vehicles to be above an area’s base flood elevation in order to comply with the rules.

The news rules were being made to the county’s floodplain regulations, which is one of very few things counties have the legal authority to regulate, but also be used as a tool against blight.

The rules would force derelict vehicles out of some RV parks, particularly in San Leon and Bacliff, or allow the county to level fines against RV park owners who allowed the vehicles to stay, Apffel had said during discussion of the proposal.

The rules would rid some places of people who lived in RVs and brought nuisances and crime to the area, Apffel said.

Residents of San Leon and Bacliff objected to the proposed rules. Hundreds showed up at a community meeting on Feb. 13 to discuss, and widely condemn, the regulations. Some argued the rules would harm senior citizens and low-income people who would not be able to raise or move their vehicles.

Apffel said that he was forming a committee of RV park owners and RV owners, to see what changes could be made “for the better of the community.”

“I will not put it back on the agenda until I vet this out,” he said.

Commissioners will meet for a regular meeting today at 9:30 a.m. in Galveston.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


Senior Reporter

(5) comments

Ray Taft

Hopefully Commissioner Apffel will take input from those who want to clean up Bacliff and San Leon such as the general public who live around the questionable RV parks, the Sheriff’s Department who patrols Bacliiff and San Leon, local fire departments who see the code violations, and local MUDs who provide services to overcrowded RV parks.

And above all, Commissioners Court should take input from the vast majority of residents who want to bring Bacliff and San Leon up to standards before the Feds find that lax county rules violate federal mandates because all areas of the county are prone to flooding.

The vast majority of residents do not deserve to have their flood insurance canceled for the benefit of the few.

James Lippert

FEMA actually endorses RV usage, per the Floodplain Regulations Study Guide Published by FEMA, “The NFIP does not have minimum requirements for recreational vehicle parks or campgrounds other than the limitations on the placement of recreational vehicles. Recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds ARE OFTEN GOOD USES FOR FLOODPLAINS….”.

RV’s (which are not insured by FEMA) have never placed any Galveston County residents at risk of having their flood insurance cancelled.

Galveston County should use existing “codes” on the books, rather than stuffing the Floodplain Regulations with ill-advised text, which could be challenged in court, which could then present a problem with FEMA compliance.

RV Parks actually pay “top tier” water rates to the local MUD’s. The San Leon MUD lost over $550,000.00 cash on its operations last fiscal year, I hesitate to think what the losses would be if that MUD lost its RV park customers...

George Croix

The basic premise of the proposal is a good one.
It's mostly about cleanup that needs cleaning up.
The most glaring omission was not defining in detail WHAT 'RV's are included in 'all'...
"They would have required all RVs in the county to be licensed and permitted, and to be moved every 180 days."
Does that include a separate permit beyond any licensing already required to own any recreational vehicle (towable trailer, ATV, UTV, boat, jet ski, etc. are all RV's...) and all those RV's must be moved every 180 days?
If not, the particular TYPE of RV should be specified plainly.
Moved how far? An inch...a mile...and who witnesses the move....?
The State already requires current licensing of all road towable trailers be done yearly, and large towables as well as even small utility trailers with a GVW of 7500# or more must have an annual inspection, which requires taking them to an inspection station (until someone starts an 'on site' mobile inspection service, if ever....) and getting a 'pass' certificate before a State vehicle license can be renewed.
These RVs are NOT the ones tied down in parks and regularly occupied.
It might be a better route, instead of a universal designation of 'RV', to say what is meant. If what is meant is any enclosed RV capable of human habitation and OCCUPIED AS A RESIDENCE then say so, and make your rules accordingly.
It is absurd to require everybody in the county who owns a towable trailer (or, other 'RV') to 'move' it every 6 months, prove it was moved, and pay for a permit to even have it.
Unless you also plan to require a separate 'permit to own' an automobile, or a trash can, or a portable BBQ, etc., too, as they can ALSO 'become missiles in a flood' that....interesting....excuse was made......

Jarvis Buckley

Just show some pride. Clean up around your RV . Pressure wash it on occasion. Keep your place looking respectable . No one would complain. Wind maintains 39 miles an hour county says you gotta go.

PS Robbins

"Just show some pride" funny you made this comment as it a yuge factor which has frankly shocked us post-harvey for the lack of pride and personal responsibility displayed within and around Galveston County proper. Truly a sad reflection on the community

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