Kerri French

Kerri French spoke out in opposition of an RV resort planned for the Willow Beach Slough area at Possum Kingdom Lake. 

With 660 individuals signing a petition on change.org, residents spoke out in opposition to an RV resort set to be constructed at Possum Kingdom Lake during Monday’s Palo Pinto County commissioners court meeting.

Resident Kerri French spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, saying she was there to represent 35 families, the Willows Condominiums Homeowners Association and the Ponderosa Condominiums Homeowners Association as well as others in the area of Farm-to-Market 2353 and Park Road 36.

“Over the last three months after filing an RV park application with the county — after placing large fluorescent green signs on both sides of the property at 109 FM 2353 in Graford that state Petey’s RV Resort coming soon — JA Ventures, without a permit, has done extensive construction on the property, bringing in and removing dump truck loads of materials to where they have completely changed the topography of the property, including digging and packing areas that appear to be within FEMA’s high-risk floodplain,” French said. “Again with no permit, no floodplain modification permit, no RV park permit and inadequate fencing along the shore of the lake. They have built up dirt foundation where I assume their office entrance will be and they’re near completion of their rock retaining wall along the shoreline.”

French said no construction should be taking place without permit approval and asked the commissioners court to put a halt to the work.

“We collectively will continue to oppose this large commercial RV park, which has grown in size from the original plan that was submitted to you as 68 to the last plan that I saw of 83 that was submitted for their OSF permit. This is a very, very small slew, a small area,” she said. “We remain concerned about affluent RV storage chemicals, garbage and commercial site runoff, resulting in contaminate accumulation in shallow waters with limited flow.”

She added that the number of docks and boat slips proposed for Willow Beach Slough is not reasonable for such a small area and will result in disaster, and that residents are requesting to know what the county’s emergency response plan was for the area.

“FM 2353 and Park Road 36 — that’s already the busiest intersection at the lake. These are both just two-lane roads with no shoulders and Park Road 36 has no turning lanes,” French said. “These are not long-term RV sites so these will be come and go traffic, so the question is how will the roads be modified to safely accommodate the additional come and go traffic of 50 to 100 stopping and turning RVs at that intersection at any time. And who will be responsible for these costs? I remember myself sitting in a line of cars at that intersection during the fires in 2011.”

Since that time, French said the Possum Kingdom Lake population has increased tremendously, especially with people working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Residents] are not only concerned with delayed emergency response times to their homes but would like to know your plan for evacuating their families through that intersection in the event of another fire emergency,” she said. “We are asking that you will please keep our concerns in mind and if you have an opportunity to vote on this project, we request that you vote no.”

A Facebook group, Neighbors for the Protection of Willow Beach Slough, was created on Aug. 16 to voice opposition against Petey’s RV Resort. The petition on change.org was created by the group with 660 signatures as of Monday afternoon and a goal of 1,000.

“I just want to verify that everything Ms. French has said is very true. I know you have nothing to do with the boat slips and things like that, but the fact that we went through three droughts in 16 years that I was there, there’s no way you could put these slips in, they would be sitting on the ground and that’s a shallow cove,” the Willows Condos resident Wayne Lindeman said. “Again, I just want to reiterate that we stand behind Ms. French and her petition and that we believe everything she has said is very true.”

Petey’s RV Resort was not on the agenda for Monday’s meeting and since the two residents spoke during the public comments portion, the commissioners court was prohibited from responding.

“Our non-response is not non-interest,” Palo Pinto County Judge Shane Long said. 

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