Eight RV tenants have been living full-time on the campground at the intersection of Apalachee River Road and U.S. Highway 278 and were given 14 days to vacate the premises by county planning officials. However, the Morgan County Board of Commissioners stepped in to grant the tenants an extension while the property owner applies for a zoning change with the county to allow long-term RV tenants on the campground.

“Morgan County doesn’t provide anywhere to stay,” said Jenny Stewart, one of the tenants living out of an RV on the campgrounds for nearly two years. “Morgan County doesn’t have anything to offer for people my age who can’t afford the upkeep on a house.”

The county commissioners decided to temporarily lift the eviction order until November after the Morgan County Planning Commission meeting votes on the rezoning application from the current property owner Mike Chawla.

Chawla appeared before the BOC on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and told the county commissioners that when he purchased the property in October 2020, he believed the land was grandfathered in and allowed long-term RV campers on site. However, when Chawla advertised on Facebook to attract more permanent RV tenants, county officials caught wind of it and took action.

“These people that are currently living down there, they are living there full-time,” said County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell. “This campground is for overnight stays, no more than two weeks at time...The only reason we moved forward with clearing the property is because we saw on Facebook advertisements for additional spaces.”

According to Jarrell, the county gave Chawla a July deadline to turn in a complete application, which he did not meet. According to Chawla, he could not retain a professional land surveyor to complete part of the requested paperwork from the county in time.

The county commissioners agreed to grant them more time to submit their application before evicting the current RV tenants on the site. County commissioners stipulated that no new RV tenants could set up camp until the matter is resolved. But the gracious extension came with a stern warning.

“This can’t go on forever,” said County Commissioner Chairman Philipp von Hanstein. “I am going to recommend any action be suspended until the November planning commission, but you can’t rent any more spaces... You have got to get this done because it is on you now.”

In the meantime, Stewart was relieved to keep her home in the RV campgrounds.

“Most of us are retired, single people,” said Stewart. “This is a good thing. It’s a good thing for single, older people to have somewhere to go and relax. It’s peaceful and there are no problems.”

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners will revisit the issue after the Morgan County Planning Commission makes a recommendation at the November meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18.

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