By Kelly Young

countybeat@jacksonvilleprogress.com

RUSK – Kevin Bowden, former city manager of Rusk, can’t believe that the City of Rusk is pursuing a lawsuit against him.

The city council decided last week to move forward with a lawsuit regarding what they view as violations of the city’s zoning statutes.

“As the former city manager and knowing the zoning laws as I know them, I can’t believe that they are pursuing this,” Bowden said.

Bowden said the city’s case is groundless and he has little to fear from the suit.

The dispute stems from the presence of multiple recreational vehicles that are parked on Bowden’s land. Bowden feels their presence is in accordance with Rusk’s zoning guidelines; the city does not. The land in question is zoned R-1 and MH-1. According to Rusk City Manager Mike Murray, neither of these types of zoning allow for recreational vehicles to be parked on them.

According to Bowden, there is no mention of recreational vehicles anywhere in the city’s zoning laws, either allowing or prohibiting their use.

“There is no mention of RVs in the zoning as we know it – no commercial, no residential, no mobile homes – none of it fits an RV,” he said. “There is in no way, shape or form anything in the zoning that declares RVs as either permitted or not permitted. So how can they tell me it is not allowed?”

According to Bowden, he moved the first recreational vehicle onto his land on May 6, 2006. He said he received his first violation notice during the early summer.

“I got my first notice from the city some time in June, but it was not clarified then that I was in violation of the zoning laws, only that I might be in violation,” Bowden said. “So far they haven’t taken any action other than the letters.”

Bowden believes that the city’s motives in pursuing this case against him may be less-than-noble.

“I think it is personal. It’s a personal attack. If you travel the city of Rusk you will find RVs in numerous places, it’s not just me,” he said.

He claims to not know of any reason why the current administration of Rusk would have it out for him stating, “You’d have to ask them why.”

Several calls were made to Rusk City Hall, but none were returned before presstime.

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