Neighbor alleges new RV Park is an illegal nuisance

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners heard a plea from Rodney Tilley to enforce its Model Subdivision Ordinance and halt the construction of an RV park north of East Twelfth Street.  Jeff McCoy is in the process of constructing a site for the temporary location of up to 12 RVs in response to the growing demand for temporary housing for the plethora of workers that have descended upon Van Horn to construct two natural gas pipelines.  Tilley noted that he did not have anything against McCoy personally, but he objected to the location of the RV park since it will border the east side of his residential property.  Tilley presented the Court with various documents including the County’s Model Subdivision Rules and a map showing the property in question to be partially in the City limits and partially in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.  However, further research shows that this particular property is entirely outside the city limits as East Twelfth Street marks the northern city limit boundary as shown on updated city maps. Tilley indicated that he intends to present his concerns to the City Council as well.  Tilley alleges that the construction of the RV park is violating several laws such as the requirement that residential lots of five acres or less have no more than one single family residence unless it has been legally subdivided. He further cited alleged permit violations, nuisance violations, and licensing violations as well as the lack of a plat or survey. Tilley also questioned the connection to the City water and sewer supply systems. The Court noted that this is the first time they have been made aware of the issue, and will refer the matter to the County Attorney for review.  [Note: The property in question is a tract of approximately 20 acres that has not been subdivided as residential property.  It is currently being developed as a commercial property for a temporary RV site. The adjacent site where Tilley’s home sits is a piece of the original tract owned by McCoy.]

The Court then learned that its request for a variance to waive compliance with the clear floor space requirements and allow the lavatory to encroach with the 60” clear width for the new fire station had been denied. The issue came about when the Texas Architectural Barriers Act was modified in 2012.  The initial plans were completed and approved prior to this date.  The facility was partially constructed with a 2009 grant which included the stub outs for the plumbing; a 2013 grant provided the funds for the interior finish out and the parking lot.  The directive to relocate the lavatory is both costly and impractical. The Court will submit an appeal of this decision to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, and Judge Urias will contact the State Legislators for assistance in this matter.

Becky Brewster, grant administrator, reminded the Court that the 2010 census changed the demographics of the County and rendered the County ineligible to apply for many grants that require a low/moderate income ratio of at least 51% for the target area.  A partial door-to-door survey of homes located in Precinct 4 could possibly amend these numbers.   The Court agreed to approach the Culberson County 4-H to conduct the survey under the direction of Brewster.   The next grant application is due in mid-August so the survey would have to be completed and certified in the next few weeks in order for the County to be eligible to apply.  The County requests that the residents of Precinct 4 cooperate fully with the teams that will be conducting the surveys.  Brewster also reported that the Texas Department of Agriculture had conducted its site inspection for the 2016 TxCDBG grant which should be awarded within the next few months.  This grant will be for the construction of a new restroom/concession stand at the Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Susie Hinojos, County Treasurer, reported that the Fair Labor Standards Act limits the amount of compensatory time that an employee may accrue to 240 hours.  Law Enforcement is limited to 480 hours of accrual.  Hinojos reported that one employee, the cook at the jail, currently exceeds the limit by 97.5 hours.  This employee has been filling in extra hours while a part-time employee is out.  While the department is short-handed, the cook will continue to accrue comp time which will have to be paid any time the limit is exceeded.  The Court approved a lump sum payment of $1,697.48 to reduce the accumulated comp time to the 240 hour limit.

Judge Urias then reported that the Board of Judicial Conduct has contacted him about some of the Justices of the Peace not having a regular office.  The Court discussed options including rental, remodeling, or the purchase of modular offices to erect on County-owned land.  The Court also discussed the future need for expansion of the Courthouse.

In other County business, the Court also

• Conducted an Executive Session with no action following in open session.

• Approved the renewal of the TAC  Affordable Care Act reporting and tracking for 2017.

• Tabled the approval of rental fees for the Boys and Girls Club pending further review.

• Renewed the Property Insurance for 2016-2017 with TAC for $8209.00.

• Tabled consideration of a tax sale request for numerous properties pending further information.

• Heard reports on County Projects.

• Set the first budget workshop for 2016-2017 for July 11, 2016.

• Reviewed information on the required training for County Commissioners noting that an elected official could be removed from office for incompetency for failure to complete the educational requirements.

• Approved May payroll and expenses