County Commissioner Hugh Coleman pressed the county staff on Tuesday to draft new fire safety rules that distinguish between a mobile home park and an RV park.

His request came after commissioners were asked to approve a plat for a new, 6-acre park for recreational vehicles at the corner of FM2931 and Mustang Road near Aubrey.

“I’m not against mobile home parks or RV parks — I just want to make sure we don’t have a fire disaster because we didn’t require [the correct fire safety rules],” Coleman said.

“There’s a loophole that we fall into,” he added, referring to gaps in state law that don’t give the county fire marshal the authority to regulate how long people stay in the park.

“That’s the elephant in the room,” he said.

Denton County fire marshal Jody Gonzalez told county commissioners that, when park owners return to file for building permits, his office has reviewed plans and negotiated for needed facilities. In other words, if the park owner builds a community room, bathroom or a coin-operated laundry room, then, the fire marshal’s office negotiates for fire safety items. For example, the fire marshal negotiates for a fire hydrant with enough water pressure, traffic lanes wide enough to allow fire trucks, and appropriate plumbing and electrical codes, Gonzalez said.

Coleman read the state law to find out what the county can do, since some RV parks in the county have effectively become mobile home parks without complying with fire safety rules, he said.

Ten parks in Denton County along major highways identify themselves as campgrounds and RV parks. Two other facilities near Ray Roberts Lake also identify themselves as RV parks. Mobile Home Village, a website that caters to mobile home owners looking for a place to set up their home, lists 58 locations in or near Denton.

Coleman also said that has asked before that the rules be drafted, but also said he didn’t want to dwell on the problem much longer during the court’s meeting.

County Judge Andy Eads pledged to give the problem a second look out.

“It sounds like we need to do some work offline,” Eads said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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