The Alton, Ill., Plan Commission gave its support Tuesday (July 21) for a mobile home park’s plan to lease even more spaces to temporary construction workers residing in recreational vehicles.

Consequently, a resolution that will go before the Alton City Council would have a text amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance. It would allow the vehicles in the north and west portions of ARC (Affordable Residential Community) Enchanted Village in a mixed use. The second resolution would authorize a two-year special-use permit, according to the Alton Telegraph.

The recommendation got unanimous approval, with three commissioners absent.

The resolutions may come before the city council tonight for suspension of rules and vote, in order to allow the workers to move in sooner.

If aldermen pass the resolutions and subsequent ordinances, it would mean that the mobile home park could lease all of its lots to recreational vehicles co-mingled with mobile homes in the R-6 (residential) zoned area. Tents and pop-up trailers would not be allowed.

The lots are being rented by crews working on the expansions of the ConocoPhillips refinery in Roxana and, to a lesser extent, U.S. Steel in Granite City.

ARC conducts background checks on all potential tenants and provides a list each week to the city of names of people residing in the lots, said Keith Jernigan, ARC district manager.

If the city council agrees, the previous ordinance authorizing a special-use permit that allows Enchanted Village to rent to people with RVs and campers on its southernmost 125 lots would be revoked.

The permit expires in November 2010.

Both the current permit and a new one require ARC to report tenants’ names and vehicle license plate numbers to the city every week, and to keep current with the $25 apiece sewer tap-on fees. Each lot in the park has city sewer service and water service hook-ups.

Starla Kutter, community manager at Enchanted Village, said when the RVs and campers began moving into the southernmost lots last January, the spots filled quickly.

“In less than three months, we filled every RV space in a co-mingling of RVs and long-term residents,” Kutter said. “It has gone better than we expected. We’ve received a number of phone calls after full occupancy” from workers wanting to rent space at the park.

Kutter said a union representative told her that more than half of the 1,800 workers coming to the area will be coming in RVs and need a place to park them.

“We are looking to add 60 to 89 that we already have” here, she said about the temporary tenants.

She said the two areas of the park where they want to house the RVs have 180 lots. The park has 33 acres, but some of the land is dedicated to common ground and streets.

The construction work at the refinery could last two to five years, Kutter said.

“We have a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Jernigan said. “We have workers coming in from all over the United States. We have to make that work. We are providing for a need, not only for the workers at ConocoPhillips, but for the city, as well.”

Both ARC representatives mentioned that the construction workers are spending a lot of money in the greater Alton area, which helps businesses and generates sales tax revenues that benefit local municipalities.

Alton resident Ron Czichos said he has surveyed the area and believes the tenants are highly skilled, have been working construction for a long time and have expensive motorhomes.

“They are very protective of each other, keep an eye on things and don’t want trouble,” he said.