ARVC Addresses Park Trailers in Hill Briefings
The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) has alerted members of Congress that cash-strapped cities, counties and states are increasingly attempting to impose property taxes on recreational park trailers or “park models” in violation of federal law.
“This is probably the biggest single state and national issue facing our industry today,” said Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations & program advocacy, in a press release.
Sims joined 27 private campground operators and industry officials in personally alerting 123 members of Congress and their staffs about illegal state and local efforts to tax park trailers during their May 8-9 visits to legislators on Capitol Hill. The meetings were arranged in conjunction with ARVC’s annual National Issues Conference.
The ARVC delegation also personally briefed members of Congress on ARVC positions regarding a variety of other issues ranging from onerous rules and requirements involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to de-funding of national parks, highways and tourism promotion.
“We had two days worth of very productive meetings,” Sims said, adding that private park operators and industry officials prefaced their congressional meetings by reviewing their talking points with David Ransom of McDermott, Will & Emery, ARVC’s government relations counsel.
Sims said it was important to brief legislators on state and local attempts to circumvent congressional mandates and impose property taxes on recreational park trailers because they are increasingly being used by consumers as vacation cottages and by private park operators as rental accommodations.
“The intent is to educate legislators so they know what’s going on,” Sims said. “Recreational park trailers are for recreational purposes only. They are not meant to be affixed to the property in any way. They do not improve property values in any way, and they are neither designed nor intended by their manufacturers to be used as permanent residences. In fact, recreational park trailers are titled and licensed as motor vehicles by the various states.”
And unlike real property, which can appreciate over time, park trailers depreciate over time, Sims said. “A recreational park trailer is like a pickup,” he said. “It’s a vehicle that’s licensed. It’s not meant to enhance the value of a property.”
In fact, Sims said, recreational park trailers are built in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 Recreational Park Trailer Standard, not the HUD requirements that manufactured homes are mandated to comply with. “Recreational park trailers are not manufactured housing,” Sims said. “There is no practical difference between the use of recreational park trailers and travel trailers or fifth-wheels.”
In addition to briefing legislators on illegal efforts to tax recreational park trailers, private campground operators outlined ARVC’s positions on several other issues, including:
• Fair implementation of ADA guidance on swimming pools and spas: ARVC believes that public accommodations should be permitted to store portable pool lifts and deploy them when they are requested by disabled people. ARVC also supports H.R. 203, introduced by Rep. Mike Mulvaney, R-S.C., which would explicitly state that portable pool lifts are ADA compliant.
• Support for the national parks: The national parks could face a reduction in visitor services, hours of operation and a shortening of seasons as a result of federal budget sequestration. ARVC supports funding that allows national parks to be properly staffed and maintained.
• Promotion of travel and tourism: ARVC supports legislation and policies intended to increase travel and tourism in the U.S., including visa waiver programs that allow foreign visitors to experience America’s national treasures. The U.S. travel and tourism industry is a major component of the nation’s GDP and employment, representing 2.7% of GDP and 7.4 million jobs directly connected to the travel and tourism industry.
• Support for America’s roads and highways: ARVC supports funding for federal highways and urges Congress to maintain support for the Scenic Byways Program.