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Proposed RV park regulations fall flat

A proposal to limit visitors in recreational vehicle parks to a maximum stay of up to 28 days before they have to move, got as much traction as a flat tire, at the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday.

The bill would also allow a maximum of 12 RVs per acre in urban areas and five RVs per acre for rural areas where public services and infrastructure aren’t available. Another change to the RV park ordinance in the county code would limit RV parks to 50 square feet of grass turf per RV space and require xeriscaping for new RV parks.

For comparison, Lakeside RV Park has 157 RV spaces on 35.3 acres, or 4.45 RVs per acre; Nevada Treasure RV Park has 202 RV spaces on 16.6 acres or 12.17 RVs per acre; Preferred RV Resort has 284 RV spaces on 22.1 acres or 12.85 RVs per acre and Pahrump Station RV Park, behind the Best Western Motel, has 162 spaces on 12.43 acres, 13.03 RVs per acre.

The minimum size of RV parks would be raised from five to 10 net acres. The minimum RV space would be increased from 900 to 1,800 square feet. A convenience store is currently only allowed for RV parks greater than 10 acres. The bill would strike the minimum acreage but require them not to occupy more than 5 percent of the park.

Current county code states RVs allowed in RV parks shall be licensed, insured and ready for highway use, which means it’s on wheels or a jack system and is attached to the site only by quick disconnect-type utilities and has no permanently attached porches or additions.

Nye County Principal Planner Steve Osborne said the 9 percent room tax is only charged at RV parks when the stay is less than 29 consecutive days.

“We’re not saying you couldn’t stay more than 28 days except technically it would be a 28-day stay that would be followed by an additional 28 days. We’re not saying you can only stay 28 days and then have to leave and can’t come back,” Osborne said.

“What I understand they come down here for four months, they pay room tax on the first 28 days that’s it,” RPC Chairman John Koenig said.

Nye County Planning Director Darrell Lacy said some RV parks have their own rules limiting guests to a 28-day stay. RPC member Bob King said at Preferred RV Park owners make guests physically move to another spot.

Laraine Harper, general manager of Best Western Pahrump, objected to the length of stay requirement. She said a third of her RV park is occupied by guests who reside on a month-to-month basis.

Harper wrote: “Pahrump is a popular destination of the snowbird sector of RVers. The snowbirds come to our community and stay anywhere from five to eight months. They contribute to many revenue sources within our community, including, but not limited to, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations and grocery stores to name a few. Not only do they spend money with our local businesses, which generates sales tax revenue, several snowbirds volunteer with local charities in an effort to better our community.”

“I believe that the big picture is being overlooked in this instance. Capturing room tax revenue is the smaller spectrum, when in reality, more money is generated when people spend more time in our community,” she said.

Michael Von Quilich, chief executive officer of RVparks247.com, which develops web sites for RV parks said, “I believe that these density changes will destroy RV park development and discourage new visitors from coming to Pahrump and other locations in Nye County. The proposed changes for rural locations will effectively triple the cost per space, causing new RV parks to be impossible to be profitable.”

King said he doesn’t mind the current requirement of up to 15 RV slips per acre, but would like to see some aesthetics built into RV parks.

“Unfortunately some of the older RV parks we got in town and up country are lacking in any creature comforts as it were, except for maybe a dog walk area,” he said.

King agreed with Harper. “If we’re going to put some artificial limit on how many days they can spend in an RV park and then move, the inconvenience of disconnecting and moving would be enough for me to say bye bye, I’ll go someplace else.”

Lacy said the county has to be cognizant of water use. But he noted Pahrump has three of the top 10-rated RV parks, Lakeside Nevada Treasures RV Park and Wine Ridge.

“What staff was recommending is we have larger parks with more amenities, nicer design,” Lacy said. “One of the things we were trying to come to grips with, we have approved a lot of RV parks over the years that haven’t been built. If we’re approving one it has to be a benefit to the community.”

“This board has no authority at this time to recommend any change in the room tax laws. The only one that can change that is the governing board for the community, as long as it’s within the legislative intent,” Dolan said. “Until Jan. 5th, 2015 at midnight that is the Pahrump town board. I feel that was stuck in there, excuse me commissioners, to take the heat off commissioners and put it on this board to try to drive up taxes for people we have come here for the winter.”

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