Supervisors hear concerns about RV trailers
A citizen of Pearl River County District 5 raised a concern about the use of a RV camper trailer as a residence addressed the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors during their Monday meeting.
Ms. Kathleen Melerine brought an issue to the Board concerning an RV camper trailer that had been placed on land next to her property on Tripp Lane in Carriere.
Based on what Ms. Melerine observed on Memorial Day weekend, she said the camper has been wired with a temporary power pole for electric and water has been hooked to the supply line, but she said she did not see any form of septic system installed to keep waste water from freely flowing onto the property and making its way to a small stream below the property.
Melerine said she spoke with the lady, identified by Melerine as Ms. Pullens, who had the RV trailer placed on the adjacent property and Ms. Pullens said she had purchased the property from Mark Gibson ( who was the owner of the property under the name of HL&C - MCNEILL, LLC according to county records). The lady told Melerine that she planned to live in the RV trailer with three children for now, but planned to put a double wide trailer and a shed on the property at a later time.
According to Melerine, she told Pullens that trailers were not allowed as residences on Tripp Lane and Pullens then called Mark Gibson. Melerine said she overhead the lady tell Mr. Gibson what Melerine had told her and Gibson told Pullens that Melerine did not know what she was talking about.
Days later, Melerine said she observed a man to come to the property and put the RV trailer on cinder blocks like a normal trailer would be blocked. Ms. Melerine told the Board she is very concerned since hurricane season has started (June 1), there are no tie downs installed to keep the RV trailer from blowing on to and damaging other properties during a high wind event.
The Board acknowledged her concerns, but pointed out that the County has no legal recourse in the matter due to absence of ordinances being in place to prohibit anyone from living in a camper trailer since Pearl River County does not have zoning in place to stop people from doing this.
The Supervisors have discussed the issue of people using RV travel trailers as permanent residences and the possible implications of safety and environmental issues. Additionallly, Tax Assessor Gary Beech, when asked about what the county can do in regards to tax collection on the RV trailers being placed on land, he pointed out that unless the person registers the RV trailer and purchases a license plate, the county will not be able to receive taxes from the RV owner.
Board President and District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said these type situations are more and more prevalent in the county.
“I understand that in some cases, it’s all some people can afford. At the same time, it’s hurting the county. We are opening the door for something here that’s setting a trend. It’s slapping us in the face everytime we turn around,” Smith commented. “There a lot of people sending kids to the schools but they are not paying any money (taxes) to contribute to it.”
District 4 Supervisor Jason Spence told Melerine the board has had discussions about the use of RV trailers as residences many times.
“We have discussed this situation at least a hundred times and we have to come up with something. We have do something. It’s a slippery slope and we haven’t got to the actual way to handle it yet without stepping on a lot of people’s toes,” he stated.
Kolby Davis, Code Enforcement Officer for Pearl River County, said that he has reviewed Hancock County’s zoning restrictions repeatedly and how they handle RV trailers and motorhomes. Davis said the zoing used in Hancock County separates what can be placed where and it does not mention RV trailers, campers, and motorhomes, therefore eliminating their use by default since they are not mentioned in what is allowed. Davis said every zone noted in Hancock County’s zoning allows RVs of all kinds to be present on properties, however, they cannot be lived in.
Melerine pointed out that there are covenants in place for her property, however, a property owners association has not been put in place to enforce them. The county cannot enforce the covenants according to Board Attorney Joe Montgomery. He pointed out that a possible course action could be a civil suit filed by an attorney paid for by the residents of Tripp Lane due to their covenant and enforcement of the covenants in place with the homeowners, but Montgomery stated clearly that neither he nor the Board was providing legal advice, only an observation of what was heard with the information Melerine presented.