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Precedent-Setting Park Model Ruling in Limbo

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November 2, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

As of Monday (Oct. 31), the York, Maine Board of Appeals had received no notification from York County Superior Court over whether Flagg’s RV & Cottage Resort LLC planned to appeal its precedent-setting case claiming park models are recreational vehicles.

According to Seacoastonline.com, York appears to the first town to challenge the national RV industry trend of moving the cottage-looking units called park models into camper parks. The park models are recognized in the industry and by state and federal standards as recreational vehicles, according to Robert Moser, owner of Flagg’s.

RVs are allowed at Flagg’s in York Beach, but Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal has ruled the park models are not recreational vehicles but dwellings, which are not allowed in the park under the town ordinances.

The appeals board in September and again on Oct. 26 upheld McDougal’s ruling. Flagg’s is expected to appeal the case to Superior Court.

Appeals board assistant Reenie Johnson said Monday the town had received no notification from the court of an appeal. The court officially notifies the town when an appeal is filed, she said.

Neither Moser nor his Attorney David Ordway, of Saco, returned phone calls for comment.

Other towns are watching the case, according to McDougal, who said he has fielded numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who want to know how York is handling the issue.

Park models have become the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association.

“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,” Garpow said in July.

Moser is president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a company that owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. They’ve had no other problems with park models in other towns, according to Moser.

This spring, Flagg’s management told 10 RV owners in the park to remove their recreational vehicles to make way for six new park models. One seasonal Flagg’s resident said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, while the park models rent for an estimated $1,400 a week.

McDougal inspected the units and ruled they did not fit the definition of an RV by town ordinances because they, unlike street-legal RVs, need to be escorted as “wide loads” when in transit; do not have wheels underneath when parked; and have air conditioning condensers and propane gas tanks freestanding on concrete pads versus being attached as normally found on RVs, he ruled.

Flagg’s appealed McDougal’s ruling and lost its case with the appeals board in September. It then asked the Appeals Board for a reconsideration of both the ruling and the basis for its ruling, called the findings of fact. For instance, Moser took issue with testimony given in September about the wheels being removed from the units.

The appeals board denied both requests, upholding McDougal’s June 28 Notice of Violation & Order for Correction Action to remove the six new dwelling units.

 

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