Jump to content

Developing a campsite(s) on your own wild property (undeveloped) - lessons learned


Recommended Posts

We are buying an undeveloped property in Tennessee.   We are interested in putting 3-4 campsites with Water(Well)  and Sewer (Septic) and possibly shared Solar.

Does anyone have any lessons they learned from putting a campsite on their property?   Preferably not a developed property.

I know about adding an outlet on a garage so you can keep your RV batteries charged.  My question is what did you learn from clearing 1-2 acres of a total of X more acres. Putting in a well and septic.   Setting up the gravel pad for the campground for at least one, but perhaps as many as 4 campsites (close together to share well/pump and septic)

 

Thanks

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When planning any type of development start by becoming familiar with local laws. Some places are very restrictive and some places don't really care. You need to know which your place is.

Septic systems are designed by the size needed for the planned use so you need to decide if you are developing one or four sites although, even with four sites, you may get by with the smallest system depending on how many people you expect per site. The Ticknor Tribe had 10 people in their RV. :)

Placement of wells and septic systems are also critical so you probably want to determine who is qualified to make those decisions in your area.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go to the county planning office and ask.  And heed the advice given above.

I spent many years on our county Planning and Zoning boards.  They're not there just to cause grief, they (for the most part) try to keep people out of trouble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d start with self research. Try to know the answers before you go to the planning or building department. The person helping you may not answer correctly every time. Or look for a former planner/building department person who now represents developers (there is usually at least one in every jurisdiction).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have developed a couple of properties to support RV's.  The above information is good.  You don't want to get shut down.  A couple of areas that we found important was access.  Enough room to easily enter the camp spots and pull out.  Large 5ers and trailers need room and some people don't like backing RV's.  That can mean a lot of gravel so planning a way to combine areas or generally reduce the size while making it convenient. In order for a septic to work every spot needs a down hill path to the septic.  That path should allow 1/4" per foot into the septic.  Shallow pipes can be damaged by heavy vehicles.  Where ever the septic and leach field is  needs to be protected from vehicles.  A well will need a pressure tank and controls so plan on a spot for that.  Shared solar will need some large inverters if AC or other loads are included along with a large array and batteries.  I built a shed with a washer and dryer and we appreciate that. The solar to power that would be substantial. For our 5er we use an efficient mini split AC and have a fairly large solar system on the RV.  RV AC's are incredibly inefficient. We don't  have a washer and dryer when on solar.  When we had a few friends staying with us I often thought a small room for games or just visiting would have been nice but never built one.  I am sure there is more but that is all I can think of for now.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the good advice.  We are in the process of confirming with the county building code group.  The location is "unrestricted" but of course there are some restrictions, but not much.  The state has rules on well and septic and that needs to be handled by licensed installers so a bit less worried about that.

I agree wide road and liberal spacing to allow for pull thru or backing up 45 trailer, or greater.

There is gravel road to the property, but we would need to "donate" some of our property to make it wider.  The county is actually deeding part of the road to us and the neighbors and the county will just maintain up to 20ft into both our neighbors and our lot.    We are probably going to widen 300ft of "road/driveway" and then make the turn into our property for the RVs.    We hope to schedule an actual face to face discussion with the Planning / Code group to review options.   We may initially just put in a septic tank, and just have it pumped once it's full initially since we may want to move things around.....   very early stages so any lessons shared will be helpful for us.   We have built several sticks and bricks homes so not super worried about codes.   However this is our first property without power, city water and sewer.   And first "Campsite" build.      Thanks for all the input thus far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having dealt with septic systems it would be my suggestion that you address that first and discuss the location of your well at the same time. Most states have someone designated to inspect the septic system. I'm not sure about rules for a septic tank with no drain field so be sure to talk to them about that issue. I would think that the total cost of the system would be significantly less if all is completed at one time. All of my recent experience with septic has been in Texas and regulations do vary but you probably have a minimum distance between a well and the drain field, as we do here. I would expect that you will also need to get a perk test done as part of the planning. 

If I understand your post you won't have access to an electric utility service. If so you will need a generator to be sure that your well can be used when needed so I'd plan space for that into the well house for your pressure tank. You will probably be using a submersible pump. The latest figure that I have seen for putting in a well is $15-25 per foot of depth and that doesn't include the pressure tank. 

For the roads and the RV pads a lot depends on the terrain, the soil conditions. the moisture conditions and the drainage. You don't want the RV pads to get soft as leveling jacks would easily sink in and you could have problems with rutting in wet weather. In the RV community where we lived in east TX it was recommended that the RV pad surface be at least 4" above the mean surface level and it was a pretty flat are of very sandy soil. Different soils and rain conditions would make that different from one area to the next. If possible, avoid having your septic and water lines pass under any of the RV pads for easier maintenance. In some soils you could need to compact the soil before adding gravel. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All good advice.  From checking the Tennesse well .GOV website, seems most wells in the area are about 100ft to 150ft.

hopefully the building boom dies down and we can get things like the gravel pad, and electrical for less than the 3x upcharge everyone is applying to everything!!!!   We will definitely take into account 45ft Class A turning radius and weight.   Still lots to learn and thanks for all the continuing insights.

 

The well quotes we have so far are $10k to $15k, and since it's probably 150ft they are probably in the ballpark.  So far no septic field, or septic holding take (100% pumpout) quotes.    In Tennessee everything is in full growth mode (trees, plants, and building contractors) so we probably won't take actual action until the fall.    First steps are going to be clearing the lot line trails with forestry mulcher.  We were able to hike them with some difficulty but we need to review the property more to definitely pick out camping spot, and narrow our choices on to 2-3 potential house sites.

Fun times ahead.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, ChrisRVLiving said:

The well quotes we have so far are $10k to $15k, and since it's probably 150ft they are probably in the ballpark. 

WOW! That is more like $100 per foot. I knew that my prices were out of date, but they were  from about 10 years ago so had no idea it had gone up so much. Of course the location and geology probably contributes but.................. ?

I'll be very interested to hear more as you progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2022 at 9:38 AM, Ray,IN said:

Just to offer an idea; several years ago the cost of installing a 50A FHU RV site was $50K per site.

That seems high but I guess that is could cost that much.  I do my own  and the first site is pricey but once the well and septic are in additional sites are quite a bit less.  If doing just one site $50,000 may not cover it if it needs well and septic.  If utilities are available it may be less.  Shared solar might be a deal breaker if full electrical including AC is anticipated. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @Randyretired    We are still at very early stages.  I will be calling to get more solid estimates on Well, Septic tank only, Septic normal with drain field, as well as estimates on putting in enough gravel to at least support a big 5th wheel, and if the $$$$ gods smile on us, a CLASS A 45ft.    Building craze is like 2006 here, so even getting quotes has been difficult.  However things in the past week seemed to open up, a few contractors actually returned phone calls!!!

Growing season is in full swing so we will probably wait until the leaves drop to make a final selection to have contractors quote on septic options and the well since location will make a big difference.     

We won't do solar initially, we will rely on existing generator we have.   Getting Well and Sewer is the priority.... solar is for year 2 or 3.... or 4 .....

We've operated skid steers ourselves for clearing land and putting in driveways at our other property so we will be able to get a start on our own, but to put in 500ft of drive/road, and an acre clearing for RV's .... we may need a dozer, and a lot more help....  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2022 at 8:53 AM, folivier said:

A 45' motorhome can't turn as sharply as a 5th wheel can so you might want to consider that when designing your pads and access to them.

Just as an example, what is the turning radius of your Class A?   I know some if the newer Newmar's is 52 which I think they mean a 52 ft Radius on the circle.  (Wheel Cut Angle Front per their website)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, ChrisRVLiving said:

Just as an example, what is the turning radius of your Class A? 

With any RV type, the driving skills of the person in control plays a very major part in where then can back or even drive the RV. We have spent enough time in campgrounds and as campground hosts to know that you will never be able to build a road that all RVs can maneuver unless it is very wide and has no significant turns. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we bought a 34' Class A we took it to the RV Driving School to learn how to handle a rig that size. The instructor told us that a Class A, driving on a city street, tends to go over the curb when turning from a right lane into a right lane. Since you have no control over what might in the lane you are turning into it is important to take control of the lane you are turning from. He taught us to turn on our left turn signal, pull hallway into the left lane, immediately turn on our right signal in hopes of discouraging anyone from trying to pull up beside us, then make the turn. So you probably want to make your road one and a half lanes wide at a minimum. I would think longer RVs might need even more width to make those turns.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris

MH's are built with a wheel-cut, measured in degrees, mine is 55°, some old MH's are in the mid-40's°, a few new MH's have over 55° wheel-cut. Each models wheel-base then has it's own specific turning radius, length of RV is immaterial unless tail-swing is a concern in a tight corner.

This is where brushing up on geometry is necessary.

That 52° Newmar statement refers to degree of wheel-cut, NOT turning radius.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input. All good information.  Our closing is moving forward....  We don't expect to do first clearing with forestry mulcher until November or December....  questions will get more intense once we get a better lay of the land.  We've hiked all over it, but until you clear an acre or two, it seems a lot different with all the trees and leaves covering everything

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...