An RV park in the town of Halifax is one step closer to becoming a reality after Halifax Planning Commission recommended its approval when they met Wednesday.
The special use permit for Dean Jones to operate his RV park at 5289 Halifax Road, next to Toots Creek Antique Mall, will go before Halifax Town Council for final consideration.
Also approved were amendments to the town of Halifax zoning ordinance to include definitions of recreational vehicle, recreational vehicle park and certain allowed uses in a C-1 Commercial Zoning District.
The park would be located in a commercial zoning district.
Jones has been waiting for a final decision on his business endeavor since September, when he first submitted his special use permit application.
In approaching the commission during Wednesday’s public hearing on the matter, Jones said, “The choice is in your hands of where I build this RV park. Do I build it in the town of Halifax or the county?”
He touted his 30-plus year history of owning businesses such as Love Shop Mini Storage and Halifax Insurance.
Most recently, he became the owner of Toots Creek Antique Mall, and he would like to operate the RV Park in Halifax because of its proximity to Toots Creek.
He also continued to stress the importance of allowing his future guests to stay indefinitely. He does not want the town to put a limit on the length of stay that a guest can stay at the RV park.
“The restriction is not feasible,” Jones argued.
He boosted RV owners as contract workers such as construction workers or traveling nurses who make a “six-figure salary.”
Jones also said no other business has a restriction on how long a person can patronize them.
The Halifax business owner also asked council to consider the amount of money that these individuals would be spending at surrounding local businesses such as Bridgeview Express or Abbott Farm Suppliers.
Accompanying Jones’ comments were signatures of support from all of the adjoining landowners as well as other local business owners.
“Not a single person has spoken in opposition. I have letters of support from landowners. Zero opposition from adjourning landowners. Can they all be wrong,” said Jones.
“I am smart enough to know that the town of Halifax must grow or else it will grow a slow, painful financial death.”
Also speaking at the public hearing was Karen Schopen, co-owner of Molasses Grill in Halifax, who expressed concerns about the proposed indefinite length of stay.
“How do you distinguish this between a trailer park,” Schopen asked.
But, Jones went on to argue that he was going to be catering to a different clientele than those who live in a trailer park.
“These RVs are not their permanent home. They travel because of their work… they’re contributing to society,” said Jones.
Commissioner Paul Butler asked Jones if any of the RVs would be rented out.
Jones said guests cannot sub-out an RV.
Commissioner Frank Carr asked Jones how much land did he have, and he said including Toots Creek and other surrounding area was six and a half acres.
Commissioner Sylvia Lovelace chimed in saying, “How do you see this working? I think I’m missing a piece.”
Jones said those traveling to another state may decide to stop in for a day or two while others who are here working on a project may stay longer, or a traveling nurse may stay for 18 months.
Schopen then asked how would Jones qualify these individuals and find these people with a “six-figure” salary?
But, Jones replied saying, “Does anyone prequalify a customer?”
He also noted that his guests would be paying a hospitality tax and that there’s no restrictions on a length of stay for a hotel.
Chairman Ron Reiter ultimately made a motion to adopt the amendments to their zoning ordinance as written, which was seconded by Carr and unanimously approved.
Included in the ordinance is a definition of recreational vehicle that says they must be “fully licensed and permitted for highway use.”
The ordinance also says each recreational vehicle site shall be at least 1,800 square feet in area with no dimension less than 30 feet at its narrowest point.
The RV park also shall not exceed a maximum of 20 lots per gross acre and no part of any recreational vehicle shall be placed within 8 feet of any recreational vehicle site.
Occupancy requirements in the zoning ordinance says “no individual shall be occupied nor shall any person reside, in any recreational vehicle park for more than 90 days/3 months within one year.”
Also included in the zoning ordinance are quiet hours, which will be from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., per Jones.
Guests will check in after 1 p.m. and check out at 11 a.m. No late arrivals will be allowed after 9 p.m.
Fireworks, firearms and explosives are prohibited as well as all varieties and forms of controlled substances.
Golf carts will be the only off-road vehicle allowed on the property.
“All vehicles and sites shall be maintained in a clean, orderly condition and kept free of any condition that will menace the health or safety of any occupant or to the public, or otherwise constitute a nuisance,” per the code.
A town of Halifax business license and sign permit shall be approved prior to its opening.
The special use permit, if approved, will be valid for three years.
The commission also reviewed an application for rezoning by Crawford Road Solar, LLC from R-1 Residential to M-1 Manufacturing to allow for a medium scale solar project, five megawatts, with a special use permit.
But, since it was the commission’s first time reviewing the full application, they decided to defer taking any action.