RV boom concerns commissioners

Howard County commissioners will meet with an Austin-based law firm during a special meeting Friday morning as the court looks to deal with growing pains in the Crossroads area.During the meeting — slated for 9 a.m. Friday — commissioners will confer with Charles R. Kimbrough, an attorney with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP, the same law firm which helped county officials in preparation for the 2007 bond election to fund the construction of the Howard County Detention Center.“We've worked with this law firm before and they did a fine job then. They pretty much specialize in working with city and county governments, so they are a good choice for what we need,” County Judge Mark Barr said. “The way the contract is set up, we only pay when we use their services, so it's a good choice for the taxpayers, as well.”If the court agrees to hire the law firm, Barr said their first line of business is going to be a tough one.“The recent boom in the oil field is a great thing for Howard County. There's no denying that,” Barr said. “However, it's also raising some questions we really need answers to. One of the problems we've heard the most complaints about are RVs popping up everywhere.“While the city has pretty strict laws regarding where and how you can set up these kinds of living quarters, these things aren't really addressed out in the county and it's something we need to get some answers to. We need to know what we can and can't do, as far as the state guidelines are concerned. At this point, we're just looking for some guidance.”Barr said the issue will likely spawn other questions regarding subdivisions, manufactured home rental communities and septic permitting and management.“We have a lot of ground to cover,” Barr said. “There are a lot of different issues the boom in the oil field — and the subsequent strain it's putting on housing — is going to have on Howard County.”The meeting will be held in the previous commissioner's courtroom, located on the second floor of the county courthouse. Barr said the move from the current courtroom — located on the third floor — was requested due to issues with the sound system.“Some folks are having a hard time hearing in the new courtroom,” Barr said. “We decided to move this special meeting back to the old commissioner's courtroom to try to avoid problems with sound. The old courtroom is a lot smaller, however, I don't think it will cause any problems with Friday's meeting.”For more information on the special meeting, contact the county judge's office at 432-264-2202.