Polk considers safety regulations for campgrounds in unzoned areas

Published 11:15 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

COLUMBUS-Polk County has two unzoned townships where literally anything goes, but after looking at possible amendments to its road naming and addressing ordinance, commissioners are now considering adding safety regulations to campgrounds and RV parks in the unzoned areas, such as properly naming lots.

Commissioners met Feb. 5 and heard from county attorney Jana Berg. Berg said if there is a campground, RV park or travel trailer site with lots of units, the county may want to make sure first responders can find the lot easily.

Berg suggested the county require that lots be numbered and that roads are made so emergency vehicles can safely enter and exit the lots.

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Commissioners came to a consensus for Berg to meet with county fire marshal Bobby Arledge and county planner Cathy Ruth about the proposed regulations.

“We do want to make sure from a fire, safety issue, the fire, police and rescue know where to go,” Berg said.

Other regulations could be that lots are spaced far enough apart, especially in case of a fire.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he hadn’t thought about campgrounds in the unzoned areas of the county, but somebody could just set up a campground. Berg said and there are no standards.

Berg said the county is not looking at design standards or signage or whether or not the facility has a laundry facility.

“We’re basically looking at safety issues,” Berg said.

Commissioner Shane Bradley said he doesn’t want to over regulate. He said there are probably 100 driveways around me an emergency vehicle can’t get up but that’s the responsibility of the homeowner.

“If their house burned down, they can’t sue if the fire truck can’t get to them,” Bradley said.

Commissioner Tommy Melton asked about mobile home parks and grandfathering those in if they have homes too close together.

Berg said the county has a mobile home ordinance and did grandfather parks in. New ones have to have current mobile home standards, she said.

The county is also working on draft amendments to its road naming ordinance, with the possibility of allow owners of vacant lots to receive an address for the purpose of emergency services being able to find the lots in case of an emergency.