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Zoning Board Approves Special Use Permit For RV Resort, Temporary Construction Trailer

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Sulphur Springs Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals Tuesday night, Nov. 22, approved a special use permit for an RV Resort and another for a temporary construction trailer for a bank.

Construction Trailer For New Bank

The ZBA approved a request for a special use permit allowing First National Bank of East Texas to have a temporary construction trailer on property located on Wildcat Way, west of the new Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home property west to State Highway 19 and north to Rockdale Road. The trailer would be a mobile building, on the site temporarily while a new bank building is being constructed on the property.

Proposed location of a construction trailer on property where a First National Bank of East Texas building is planned for construction over the next 18 months.

Jonathan Jackson of Quitman this week reported the trailer will be a manufactured home, it will be up to building and utility standards, only to be while the permanent bank is being built. The trailer would more or less be located in the center of the 20-acre property, with the permanent building to be built further northwest, closer to Rockdale Road. Once the trailer is removed the pad it sat on and remainder of the property be used either for future development in the area or, if needed, for bank expansion, so a concrete pad site for the trailer should not be an issue.

According to Jackson, the plan is to begin work on the site immediately, and have the bank branch up within 12 months of the actual start of construction.

City staff have received some modular drawings for the project and are comfortable with the request, but with a stipulation the construction trailer can only remain on the site for 18 month.

The Zoning Board approved the request for the special use permit allowing the construction trailer on site for up to 18 months, during construction of the bank only. If construction is not completed within 18 months, the applicant would be required to again submit for consideration, by both the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board, another request to extend the special use permit allowing the construction trailer to remain on site.

RV Resort Modification

The Zoning Board of Adjustments approved a request from Cole Heitman to modify the special use permit he was granted in July 2021 for construction of Ladera RV Resort on approximately 49 acres of land located at 1229 Loop 301, which wraps around other properties from Jefferson Street to Loop 301 east. The permit is contingent upon a few requirements, including the stipulation that Heitman will be required to reapply for another special use permit if any adjustments are made to the plan, as was the case with approval of the initial permit in 2021 after a detailed plan and concept drawings were presented.

This week’s request was due to 10 modifications, made after consulting with engineers. Engineered drawings of the site required adjustments to the original concept plan approved by city officials in July 2021.

Notices were sent by the city to 22 property owners within 200 feet of the planned RV site but ,as was the case with notices sent for the construction trailer at the proposed bank site, the city received no responses either for or against the special use permit request for Ladera.

After reviewing the modification request, Assistant City MAnager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski said he felt comfortable with modifications 1-4, but felt that modification 5 should remain in place to help ensure the park remains a recreational site and not a residence.

  • Modification 1 — The site layout changed. No longer are sites planned compact in the middle of the property. The current proposal is to have a cul-de-sac along the west property line which would extend closer to Jefferson Street.
  • Modification 2 — The number of slips planned changed. Instead of a 100 total slips, the current plan is for 128 slips.
  • Modification 3 — The size and type of fence changed as well. In July 2021, Heitman proposed a 6.5-foot tall masonry fence abutting residential properties and a 6-foot wooden fence around the rest of the property. The modification would be for an 8-foot tall wooden fence abutting residential properties.

Niewiadomski said city staff members are comfortable with the fencing change since the overall change puts more distance between the planned property use and abutting residential property. The fence also would be 8 feet tall, creating more privacy for all.

Heitman noted the wooden fence is better for drainage beneath it. There are also trees which provide a 5-6-foot buffer from nearby houses. Also, a fence with tall vegetation obscuring the view between the planned RV park property and Paris Junior College-Sulphur Springs Center currently is to remain in place. At the other end of the property a 4.5 foot tall fence with barbed wire atop it would allow those staying in the park to view and enjoy watching cattle kept nearby.

The entrance to the planned Ladera RV Resort is on Loop 301 East, not Jefferson Street.

When asked what action could be taken if a fence, wooden or other, is allowed to deteriorate without improvements, Niewiadomski noted those could be addressed in accordance with City Codes by a Code Enforcement officer.

  • Modification 4 — The size or RV sites would be smaller to allow for the 28 additional slips. Previously, RV sites were planned at 35×65-feet, with pull-through slips averaging 75-feet, concrete pads that are 16×50 feet long and east site would accommodate a Class A vehicle 48-foot in length. The modification would reduce RV sites to 34×60-feet, with pull through slips an average of 5-feet smaller, concrete pads reduced to 10×40 feet long and will be able to accommodate a 40-foot RV.
  • Modification 5 — The restriction on long-term stays was changed in the modification request. Instead of limiting long-term stays to 40% of resort capacity, Heitman proposed having no restriction on percentage.

Concern was expressed that, without a restriction on long-term stays, the park could potentially become a permanent residential site for some or even all of the property. A mobile home park would not be consistent with city plans for the area. Spaces can be rented for up 1 month, but not in longer increments, and only 48 slips would be available for long-term rentals, which would still be less than 40% of the total capacity, which would be 51 slips.

RVs will need to be 10 years or newer, to meet all utility and other required codes, and renters must showing proof, Heitman noted.

Ladera RV Resort site plan graphics depicting differences in the 2021 and 2022 special use permit proposals
  • Modification 6 — Staff hours are proposed to be expanded to have staff on site 7-days a week. Previously, the front desk was to open only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The new proposal would have someone on duty to work the front desk from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Niewiadomski said he sees have more staff on-site for longer periods 7-days a week as an improvement. He also received confirmation that quiet hours also are still planned to begin at 10 p.m. and end at 8 a.m. daily at Ladera RV Resort.

  • Modification 7 — The redesign does not include a kids splash pad.
  • Modification 8 — Eight 1-2 room cabins to be located around a retention pond also were removed from the revised proposal.

Changing up the design, moving things around, and removing cabins and a kids splash pad will allow for 10 additional full hook up concrete slips and the focal point and big feature will be a pool. City staff made no recommendation to the ZBA regarding modifications 7 and 8, but the P&Z Commission recommended approving the request to remove the splash pad and cabins.t to approve or deny the removal of these items as sticking points for the special use permit. The ZBA agreed with the Planning & Zoning Commission recommendation.

Phase 1 construction plan denoted in blue and gray
  • Modification 9 Phase 1 of construction expands the number of full hook up concrete slips from 50 to 68, and includes a temporary welcome center, workshop, recycled asphalt streets, fencing and a playground. Phase 1 would still include all wet/dry utilities, a laundry, and restroom/shower facilities.

Niewiadomski said city staff recommended that the developer be required to pave or concrete all driving surfaces, and stipulating the temporary welcome center be replaced with a permanent center within 24 months after completion of Phase 1.

Modification 10 — With the splash pad and 8 cabins removed, Phase 2 would include 60 full hook up concrete slips, 10 more than previously planned; Welcome Center and Camp Store; Grand Event Pavilion; a second playground on the other end of the complex; and RV trailer storage facility. Those who choose may also take advantage of a fishing pond to be incorporated in Phase 2.

Heitman said the plan includes adding a brick patio onto the concrete slips. The entrance drive would be concrete, then the roadway would be turn to recycled asphalt. The surface planned should hold a fire truck. Heitman assured the base would be 6-inches, with 5 inches of aggregate asphalt millings on top.

City officials also recommend that Phase 2 commence within 24 months of completion of Phase 1. This would ensure the amenities proposed are implemented in the project and that the temporary welcome center be removed and replaced with the permanent welcome center.

Heitman doesn’t anticipate that being an issue, as the plan is to start Phase 2 within 12 months of the first, and may even be able to start early.

An additional recommendation from city staff was that all site utilities and access be verified for adequacy of development, engineered to meet city development specifications and be approved by the city engineer, utilities department, fire department and/or City Council if deemed necessary by public utility extension.

Ladera RV Resort Phase 2 identified in yellow.

The Zoning Board of Adjustments Tuesday evening approved the special permit modification request from Cole Heitman, as recommended by city staff, including restriction of long-term capacity to 40% or less, the removal of the splash pad and retention pond, and start of Phase 2 within 24 months of Phase 2 being completed.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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