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Eddy County approves RV ordinance


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CARLSBAD — An ordinance dealing with work force camps and recreational vehicle parks will be taking effect in Eddy County next year.

Before voting on an ordinance dealing with work force camps and RV parks in Eddy county Tuesday, Eddy County Commission Chairwoman Stella Davis stated the county was “caught with our pants down.” County officials had been dealing with the proposed ordinance for months. It passed Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy of Eddy County)

The Eddy County Commission spent nearly 90 minutes debating the measure Tuesday morning. The item has been talked about by county residents and officials for a good chunk of this year.

The commission held a public hearing and voted to table a possible adoption of the ordinance along with removing a certain section last month.

Commissioner’s heard the pros and cons of the ordinance.

“Vote to disapprove the ordinance,” said Michael Zant of the Lubbock law firm of McWhorter, Cobb and Johnson.

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His firm represents Cody Northcutt of Carlsbad, he’s been trying to build an RV camp in the La Huerta area, which is near the Cave City.

Don George lives in the affected area.

“How can the state have 1,000-foot setbacks and we can’t?” the Eddy County resident asked.

George said that traffic, noise, trash, sewage and safety are real issues in that part of the county.

“People are frustrated,” he said. “Make your responsibility to approve variances.”

Zant’s law partner Mike McCauley disputed George’s concerns.

McCauley said concerns like George’s weren’t, “substantiated in reality.”

“Follow the law (and) deny this ordinance,” McCauley said.

Others told the commission that more RV camps will be popping up in Eddy county as the oil and gas industry ramps back up. Bo Norton of the North Star RV Park near Carlsbad told commissioners that traffic was backed up from Loving to Malaga Monday evening.

“We need how to learn to work with what is happening,” he said.

Norton also told the commission the issue has been, “beat to death and everybody is exhausted.”

Once the public comment ended, commissioners weighed in on the issue.

“My fear is we’ve got more ordinances than what we know to deal with,” said District 2 commissioner Jon Henry.

“Do we look at zoning?” he asked. “It bothers me to write ordinance after ordinance. If we pass this get ready to start writing them.”

Henry said, “I understand your fears and thoughts.”

He added that Artesia residents are worried about property rights. Along with zoning, Henry suggested that extraterritorial zoning be looked at too.

“Zoning has never been wanted in Eddy County,” said District 5 Commissioner Susan Crockett.

“These issues aren’t going away,” she added.

She said the oil and gas boom will becoming to the county. She said on a recent trip to Texas she counted 19 RV parks extending from south of Carlsbad into the Lone Star State.

“Zoning is the way to go,” she said.

Commission chairwoman Stella Davis also weighed in.

“Eddy County can no longer look the other way,” she said. “We were not prepared for what’s coming (and) we were caught with our pants down,” Davis added.

Once the discussion ended, District 3 commissioner Larry Wood made a motion to adopt the ordinance, striking out the definition of a workforce camp.

The motion passed 3-2 and county manager Rick Rudometkin said the ordinance will become official once it has been attested. He added that a hold that had been put in place on Northcutt’s work is still in place until the ordinance becomes official.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.