Maine RV Resort Fights Park Model Removal

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August 1, 2011 by   2 Comments

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.


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2 Responses to “Maine RV Resort Fights Park Model Removal”

  1. bb on August 1st, 2011 7:43 pm

    This issue is very easy to solve. Campgrounds are just that. And ‘campgrounds’ that rent out owned structures for lodging are called hotels, motels, or boarding houses. Having structures on the property for rent, whether by the day or week, could easily violate permit restrictions in some areas.

    I’ve used an RV and rented a cabin, so I’m not a hater by any means. I do believe the community should have the right to restrict the year-round lodging rental option. Essentially, the campground becomes a hotel. Isn’t there discussion about campers being required to pay a hotel or transient tax going on right now for this very reason? If campers want to continue to enjoy ‘camper’ status, then we must remain ‘campers’.

    Afterall, when an owner begins to rent park models as a cabin, that changes the dynamics of a campground. And what the camper expects when they go to a campground is compromised when the condo renters come-and-go. It is a different mentality.

  2. Elizabeth Archer on February 16th, 2013 3:54 pm

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Almost all campgrounds have either rental cabins or rental campers. Generally, depending on the number sights or size of campground, they can have a certain number of “Rental Cabins” or however many campers. As for Park Model Campers, as long as they are kept on the wheels, they aren’t considered permanent. It is only when they are taken off from the trailer are they considered a permanent structure . It should be according to the campground owners as to whether or not to rent out cabins/park model camper rentals during all (4) seasons. Here in Maine, many people love to go to a “Camp”/Cabin to get away and either snowmobile, ski, or whatever. So, camping doesn’t have to be just a seasonal thing to call it camping.

    So, to say that the town should have a right to tell a campground whether it can or can’t be open all year long is totally wrong. What right does a town have to tell you how long a season to have? If that is the case, then they can start telling all lodging businesses what season they can run their businesses. If you don’t like to camp or get out in the winter, then don’t. Don’t take it out on the rest of those who want to get outside and enjoy or make the best of all (4) seasons that we have here in the state of Maine.