In the United States, requirements concerning RVs tend to vary as each state reserve the right to regulate its affairs. However, RV Park density does not exceed Fifteen (15) RV’s per acre.
Some states also allow a maximum of 12 RV’s per acre for urban areas – where full public services and infrastructure are available to the site: roads, sewer, water, Etc. And a maximum of 5 RV’s per acre for rural areas – where full public services and infrastructure are not available to the site.
Recreational vehicle sales in the United States are currently on the rise. Thanks to widespread Wi-Fi and cell phone service, some people even live in RVs full time, working remotely from the vehicles as they tour the country.
All those RV travelers need places to safely park their vehicles, but anyone getting into the business of building RV parks will have to consider the viability of the location, what amenities they will provide, how much space they will need and legal requirements in their jurisdiction.
Individuals traveling the United States by RV need to be able to park their vehicles somewhere near popular tourist attractions, whether those are national parks, monuments like Mount Rushmore or commercial tourist attractions.
Most times, clients contemplate whether to build an RV park on land they already own, but whether you are considering an RV park as one possible development for an existing plot you control or buying land to build one, you will have to make sure the spot is in a good location.
In terms of RV park layout dimensions, a good rule of thumb is around 10 campsites per acre, with each campsite providing room for one RV, its utility connections and perhaps a fire ring. Note that the cost to build an RV park is usually $15,000 to $50,000 per site. A successful RV park design often includes more than just places for people to drop anchor.
Also note that some parks also include play areas for children, whether they’re traditional playgrounds or water parks, and off-leash areas for visiting dogs. Also, inculcating pavilions that can be used for events like family reunions or RV rallies, and caravans where groups of recreational vehicle aficionados will travel together to particular locations, can also help attract visitors to the park.
However, always remember that different jurisdictions have different requirements for RV parks. Densely populated cities have stricter requirements than loosely populated areas.
Many parks also adhere to the National Fire Protection Association’s standard for RV parks, known as NFPA 1194, whether it is legally mandated or not. Some insurers may have their own standards for parks to meet to get favorable rates.
Things to Consider When Designing an RV Park
A well-planned RV park can generate steady revenue, while a poorly planned one can be a sink hole. When designing or planning your RV Park, here are crucial factors to consider extensively:
Note that RVs are bigger in size and access to the sites are expected to have bigger radius curves. Also, remember that oddly shaped parks don’t work well with RVs and therefore are much more difficult to deal with. In the United States, the preferred RV park is approximately 20-ft by 50-ft in size with an adjacent 20-ft by a 20-ft camp pad.
Indeed these dimensions provide substantial space for the RV, a second vehicle, a table, a grill, and a fire pit. Although some smaller sites can work in an RV park but will need better site assignment to avoid problems with a large RVs not fitting into a smaller site. You can make your RV sites straight, angled, curved, or L-shaped.
In addition, you have to make sure there are no low overhanging tree limbs that can cause damage to the camper. If there is a low hanging limb that cannot be removed, the low clearance needs to be signed and clearly visible.
Also remember that drivers always seem to focus on ground clearances and other ground obstructions and never seem to notice the overhead conflicts until it is too late. RV parks are expected to be relatively level and free of rocks, roots, vegetation, and other similar obstructions.
A good number of RV Parks provide grills, tables, and fire rings. Tables need to be anchored if it is necessary that the tables not be moved or relocated. RV parks are also mandated by law to provide bathhouses for showers, toilets, and sinks.
ADA access may be mandatory to all bathhouses or to selected ones depending on the size of the park and the local codes. ADA access issues will require careful consideration of site grading, sidewalks, parking, routes, etc.
Additionally, if you intend to provide laundry facilities, the wash water discharge is expected to be handled in accordance with local codes. Since most RV parks have large sewage flows, they are connected to a public sewage collection system that discharges into a wastewater treatment plant. However, check with your local utility department for connection requirements and fees.
Howbeit, if no sewer services are available in the local area, a wastewater treatment plant may need to be constructed to serve the park which presents an entirely different set of design and permitting issues. Operating a RV park with a septic system will significantly limit the number or spaces available in the park. Again, verify the location’s available water and sewer services.
Also remember that RV parks are tightly regulated by health departments and regulatory agencies. These agencies, in their different locations, have regulations covering storm water drainage, access, traffic circulation, water and sewer services, electricity, garbage collection, and development densities.
As someone looking to create a mobile home environment, you are expected to always check your state and local regulatory agencies for the specific code requirements before you begin your park design.
Don’t forget that accesses from public roads are mostly regulated by the county, Parrish, or the State depending on who controls the roadway where the park is located. Have it in mind that a turn lane or lanes may be required depending on the size of the park, the speed of the main road, the roadway gradient, and number of lanes, peak hour traffic counts, and site distances.
Also note that RVs and trailers don’t decelerate quickly or make quick turns into park entrances so right-turn and/or left-turn lanes may be needed for traffic safety. Consult a traffic engineer for the improvements needed for the park access.
All electrical services in an RV Park are expected to be supplied by 20-amp, 30-amp, and 50-amp circuits in a weatherproof box. If a 50-amp service is not available, the RV is expected to use an adapter to connect to the 30-amp service but the 30-amp service will restrict the usage of some of the RV’s equipment like heaters and air conditioners.
Water service is provided by one or two hose bibs on a ½” water pipe. Sewer service is provided by a 4” sewer service connection. Most RVs use a 3” sewer hose with a 4” adapter to connect to the park’s 4” sewer service connection.
The electrical and water lines should be buried 36 inches below the surface to protect them from stakes and poles being driven into the ground. Also, communication connections for cable TV and internet are becoming more common and are typically post-mounted adjacent to the water and sewer services.
Have it in mind that this kind of road works very well in parks and helps to increase pedestrian safety. Two-way roads can be used but extreme care is expected to be utilized to avoid turning conflicts for parks. One-way roads with pedestrian lanes are the preferred design choice since they limit conflicting traffic, provide a safe zone for pedestrians, and provide additional maneuvering room when needed.
If you are looking to start a business with good income potential and little maintenance required, you may start an RV Park or even an RV storage lot. However, before embarking on any business venture, make sure you have the basics covered to help ensure eventual success.
Go for a space with a great deal of open area for vehicle storage and easy access from the road. You do not need any buildings or structures, but space is important. Also, consider your long-term goals and whether you might want to expand the business down the road. You may wish to start out with a small lot and purchase or lease additional space as your business grows.