Are you about starting an RV park business and you want to get the necessary permits? If YES, here are 8 types of permits & license you need for a RV park.
Owning and managing a recreational vehicle (RV) park is one of those businesses where you have to align with a lifestyle more than you stick to a business plan. To properly flourish in this business, you have to love the camping lifestyle.
You need to be comfortable in the outdoors, and you absolutely have to be a people person. In the past several years, the RV park industry has been a busy one. The millennials have caught on to the joys of RV vacations as much as their parents once did.
Many parks now offer Internet access and cable television to suit the slightly more upscale taste of the new generation. A few now even have food delivery service, full-service restaurants and health clubs.
But when it comes to zoning and permits needed to run this business, different jurisdictions have different requirements for RV parks. Generally, as with other types of property development, more densely populated cities will have stricter requirements than more loosely populated areas.
Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the State Department of your State, the IRS and the Department of Revenue. When you have completed those steps, you will need to get a permit from the Department of Health.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation might also have filing requirements for mobile home parks. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services license liquefied petroleum (LP) gas installers, dispensers and servicers related to this category.
These facilities may also require environmental permits from the Department of Environmental Protection, or local permits or licenses. If you wish to prepare food on the premises, you will need to obtain an additional state license for that purpose.
If you are looking to site an RV park anywhere in the united states, these are the specific permits and approvals you need.
RV Park Permits You Need
- Special Recreation Permits
Special Recreation Permits are issued to businesses, organizations, and individuals to allow them use specific public land and related waters for commercial, competitive, and organized group use. Special Recreation Permits allow the land stewards to coordinate and track commercial and competitive use of public lands.
They also provide resource protection measures to ensure the future enjoyment of those resources by the public. To obtain this permit, you have to verify that the activity is going to take place on public lands by contacting the local BLM Field Office in the area of activity.
The local BLM office will supply you with an application, checklist and local procedures 180 days prior to operation, file the application and items identified on the checklist.
The BLM will advise applicant of disapproval or request additional information within 30 days from receipt of application. Documentation required may include an operating plan, a business plan, insurance, maps, other state or local licenses.
This process may take up to 180 days to complete depending upon the complexity of the applicant’s operations plan. Note that not all applications submitted receive a permit. Therefore, any action taken before receiving a special recreation permit authorization, such as advertising or expending funds, is premature and at the applicant’s risk.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You’ll also need an employer identification number. An EIN is assigned by the IRS and it is essentially a tax ID number. You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website, or by fax, phone, or mail. The IRS website lists three important steps that you’ll need to take to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online.
- Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
- Step 2: Complete the Online Application
- Step 3: Submit Your Application
The IRS only issues one EIN per day. You can apply online to get an EIN and it’s free – so that’s the silver lining.
- Zoning Permit
Zoning laws don’t just vary by state, they vary by city and specific plot of land. In most areas, the use of land is governed by zoning regulations. For example, some parcels of land are specifically zoned for hospital or medical center use, and others are zoned for residential homes, retail centers or other purposes.
Before you can get a house on wheels on a parcel of land or park it somewhere, you need to review zoning ordinances and ensure that your structure is compliant.
Zoning can be changed in some cases by contacting the local authoritative department with your request, but this process can be cumbersome in some areas. Keep in mind, however, that some zoning regulations are determined at the federal level. It’s very advisable you check for a city handbook with recreational vehicle laws and zoning laws.
It will tell you where you can establish your parks or where you can park your RV, and give specific rules on what counts as an RV park. Call the city zoning office to check on your particular property. It might fall outside of the zoning laws that prevent recreational vehicle living situations.
- Health Permit
You will need this permit if you plan to sell eatables and foods in your park for campers. A health permit is a permit to sell foods and beverages that are cooked or served to the public, and which must be regulated for public safety. Health permits are typically part of the domain of a county health department.
Regulations governing requirements for types of food businesses that require health permits vary widely. Contact your local county health department for the requirements for a health permit and the types of food establishments that are exempt from the requirement of a health permit.
See the directory of local health departments from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). Environmental health inspectors check that safeguards are in place to protect food from contamination by food handlers.
That means they will be checking to make sure raw meat isn’t in contact with surfaces, that employees wash their hands, and that rodents and other pests that can cause illnesses are not in evidence. They may also look for packaging and items that come in contact with foods, to make sure that mold or bacteria aren’t transmitted.
- Live Entertainment and Music Permit
Unfortunately, you can’t just book your buddy’s band or plug your smartphone into the speaker system and let the good times roll. Not legally at least. Parks need a license from performance rights organizations such as BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC to avoid copyright infringement, which can cost between $250 and $500 for background music.
Rates vary further depending on if the music is live, recorded, the number of nights music is playing per week, and whether there’s an entrance fee, amongst other factors. For live music, you’ll also need to check for additional safety and zoning permits, which vary by city and state. Playing copyrighted music without a license can cost anywhere from $750 to $30,000 in fines.
- Drinking Water Facility Approval
This permit is for drinking water systems. This includes wells, storage tanks, distribution lines and treatment systems. These systems are intended to take water from its source, ensure it meets safe drinking water standards and distribute the drinking water within the service area.
This permit is required any time the system is a public water system. It is required for almost any expansion of the drinking water system. This permit is valid for the life of the facility. However, any additional modification which meets regulatory requirements will need an additional Approval to Construct.
- Sign Permit
Before you put up your carefully designed park sign, you’ll need a permit. While a sign permit for your park may seem like a minor detail, when you think about how important it is in the grand scheme of your park design, it’s best to make sure it’s squared away.
When it comes to your sign: sizing, location, and even lighting is determined by your city, not your state. This can make things a bit trickier to navigate. Be prepared to pay too. The cost may range from $20 to $50.
- Environmental Permits
Certain environmental permits can cover a range of activities but address specific environmental media. For example, the Clean Air Act requires pre-construction and operating permits (New Source Review and Title V). The Clean Water Act authorizes permits for point source discharges into waters of the United States and the filing of jurisdictional wetlands. Other permits authorize and regulate specific activities or industries.
Under the Clean Air Act, for example, different facilities and equipment are subject to particular emissions standards. Others authorize mining, well drilling and Waste Management. Most often, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or delegated states are in charge of giving this permit.
Clean Water Act wetlands permits are issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers with EPA oversight. Federal agencies with jurisdiction over federally owned or managed lands may permit surface or subsurface activities on those lands.
State and local authorities also may issue or review permits. Requirements for this permit vary significantly. Typically, parks require a complete application to explain the proposed activities, any anticipated adverse environmental consequences and any actions to limit or mitigate them.
Applicants generally must then address any questions or concerns from the agencies. Public involvement sometimes is required or warranted.
It has become harder for new entrepreneurs to get into the game. Extra permits and expenses add to the initial cost of setting up an RV park. Permit costs vary upon municipality. Some may find they need to go to the zoning board and township supervisors to find out about the specific rules about a location.
Those who want to own an RV park need to know whether or not the land is zoned and what restrictions may exist. It is important to research the area. A market survey is helpful in determining whether or not a parcel of land will be large enough for an RV park and will be an economically feasible choice.
In addition to understanding local zoning restrictions, it is important to know what types of municipal services are available. Successful RV parks often have easy access to main roads and are close to major roads. Requirements for RV parks will vary depending on where you live.
Always check with rules and regulations before starting your park. Many parks try to adhere to the National Fire Protection Association’s standard for RV parks, known as NFPA 1194, whether it’s legally mandated or not. Some insurers may have their own standards for parks to meet to get favorable rates.