Maine RV Resort Fights Park Model Removal
Flagg’s RV Resort LLC has appealed the town’s order mandating it remove what it calls recreational vehicles and what the town calls manufactured housing from its York, Maine, campground.
Seacoastonline reported that Flagg’s maintains the units are not “dwellings” as stated in the town’s June 28 notice of violation and order for corrective action, but park models, defined as RVs by the federal government. Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal said he is still researching federal law on the subject.
“Still, I’m charged with upholding the local ordinance,” he said. “If local ordinance doesn’t allow it, it’s not allowed.”
Town ordinance prohibits the units under town density standards for dwellings. McDougal said Flagg’s owners have been telling him they can’t be prohibited because they’re allowed under federal law.
“I keep saying, ‘show me why,’” McDougal said. “No one’s been able to show me why.”
McDougal ordered Flagg’s to remove the new units no later than July 22, or face fines of up to $2,500 per day.
This is the first time the issue has come before the Code Enforcement Office, according to McDougal and Steve Burns, head of the Community Development Office.
Yet, in the appeal, Ordway states park models are already in York. Flagg’s has asked that the appeal be heard by the town’s Board of Appeals Sept. 14, according to attorney David Ordway of Smith & Elliott, Saco, who submitted the appeal on July 27. As of Friday (July 29), no appeal date had been set.
“From Bar Harbor to Kittery, park model RVs and park trailers have become commonplace in Maine campgrounds,” Ordway said in the appeal. “… Similar units are also in place at other campgrounds in York and surrounding towns.”
Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., which owns Flagg’s, also owns numerous campgrounds from Maine to Florida and has no problems with the cottages in other towns, according to President Bob Moser.
McDougal said Thursday he has received calls from officials in other towns, RV campground owners and users about how York is handling the issue. Calls have come from a campground in Newry near Sunday River and from a park in Sandwich, N.H., he said.
Park models are becoming the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA). Executive Director Bill Garpow of the Newnan, Ga., association said an estimated 50% of the nation’s 13,000 RV campgrounds now have some park models.
“Recreational vehicle parks have determined they can increase their cash flow and bottom line as a RV park if they do more rental use than just allowing people to bring in their own units,” he said.
This spring, Flagg’s management told the owners of approximately 10 RVs parked year-round in the park and used seasonally, to remove their recreational vehicles. The reason was to make way for an estimated six units Morgan advertises as “cottages,” to be rented nightly or weekly. The campground changed its name from Flagg’s RV Resort to Flagg’s RV & Cottage Resort.
One RV owner said he pays an estimated $5,000 to park his recreational vehicle at Flagg’s for the year, while the cottages rent for an estimated $1,400 a week.
According to Garpow, most RV parks do not need to evict RV tenants to make way for park models, as the majority rent to RV campers on a nightly or weekly, rather than seasonal basis, as is the case with Flagg’s.