Jackson County discusses license requirement for 2017 eclipse ca - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Jackson County discusses license requirement for 2017 eclipse campers

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JACKSON COUNTY -- Hundreds of thousands of people could travel to southern Illinois for the 2017 solar eclipse, and Jackson County leaders have begun taking steps to make sure they're prepared.

People looking to cash in on the event by renting their property out to campers will need a license from county officials.

Illinois State law requires property owners who house three or more tents or trailers for several days on their land to coordinate with county officials on services like waste disposal and police patrols.

Harold Cox owns 30 acres of land in Jackson County near Boskydell, most of which lies in what NASA has dubbed the "ideal viewing spot" for the 2017 solar eclipse.

"I don't want campers everywhere down there, somebody else can rent them out, not me," Cox said.

He's one of many, wary of the crowds expected to flock to the area for the eclipse. County officials already have an eye on potential safety hazards.

"The biggest concern is that we are going to be short staffed and there's going to be this enormous demand and we're not going to be able to do our jobs," said Jackson County Board member, Steve Bost.

Bost said local hotels won't have enough space to accommodate all visitors, so the county plans to create a licensing system for private property owners who choose to rent out their land to campers.

"The real intent here is not to make money for the county, it's having people provide information so we can make a guess of the demands that will be required on our services," Bost said.

Requiring a license would help the county make plans for vital services, Bost said.

Jackson County's  license requirement would only affect those in unincorporated areas. County leaders would have to pass a new ordinance, though the process remains in the preliminary stages.    

Brenda Oliver, who owns about 30 acres in Boskydell, said she'd consider renting out.

"We would definitely think about it, of course we'd want to do background checks," Oliver said.

Others plan to steer clear of the crowds.

"I'll stay at home, if you get out there you'll get run over," Cox said.

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