Flagg’s RV Resort LLC has successfully obtained a restraining order to temporarily stop the mortgage holder of the York, Maine, camper park from selling the property at foreclosure auction.
Seacoastonline.com reported that the RV park was scheduled for foreclosure auction on March 22, according to a published public notice. On March 21, the York County Superior Court granted Flagg’s a 60-day emergency temporary restraining order, according to court records.
Flagg’s is part of Morgan RV Resorts of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a business now called Morgan Recreation Vacations. In court records, Flagg’s is listed as a Delaware company, and in 2007, was among seven campgrounds Morgan used as collateral toward a $38 million loan from Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc.
The Countrywide loan was transferred several times and the mortgage is now held by a limited liability company from Delaware, which sought to foreclose on all the properties and scheduled the Flagg’s auction, according to the published notice of the sale.
Neither Robert Moser of Morgan RV Resorts nor the mortgage company’s attorney Kevin Collins, of Wilmington, Del., returned phone calls for comment.
The day after the originally scheduled auction, workers at the York Beach camper park who said they worked for Morgan were disassembling and moving to an undisclosed location an estimated half-dozen “park models” — cottage-like recreational vehicles. The park models were recently brought in, having replaced two other types of units in the park.
When Morgan brought in the first park models two years ago, it ousted an estimated 10 seasonal RVs from the park. Other campers, fearful of the change, moved out on their own accord, with many going to Wells Beach. Where once there were more than 80 RVs at Flagg’s, about a dozen remain, according to longtime camper Patricia Lee, commenting through The York Weekly’s Facebook page.
How the potential foreclosure of Flagg’s affects the remaining seasonal residents, who expect to return to York Beach this summer, is still unknown. Lee and camper Melvin Riggs of Oklahoma said they’ve already paid Morgan some or all of the money on their estimated $5,000 lease to stay at Flagg’s for the season. The money was due April 1, they said.
Riggs said representatives from Morgan called him almost daily for at least a week in March, trying to get him to pay the remaining $3,700 on his estimated $5,200 summer lease before the deadline.
Neither was told of the scheduled March 22 foreclosure sale, they said.
Morgan Recreation Vacations sought to stop not only of the foreclosure on Flagg’s RV Resort, but also on two other Maine properties in Rockport, Megunticook RV Resort LLC and Camden Hills RV Resort LLC, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Life is almost back to normal at Flagg’s RV Resort, as seasonal residents return to the York, Maine, RV park.
SeacoastOnline reported that there are an estimated 30 recreational vehicles in the York Beach campground that once held more than 80 RVs, and six new “park models” have replaced the larger, cottage-looking units the town ordered removed last year. Amid the controversy, many campers left Flagg’s, moving to Camp Eaton in York, or north to a campground in other areas.
“I’m one of the 30 that stayed the course,” said Pat Lee, who is back at Flagg’s with her husband Jack Lee. “I’m optimistic. I’ve been in the park 50-plus years. Seasons come, seasons go. I think this too shall pass.”
Last spring, Flagg’s management asked an estimated 10 seasonal residents to remove their trailers to make way for six new park-owned cottage-style units. The new park models were to be rented for overnight, weekly or longer stays.
York’s Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal ordered the park models removed, saying they did not fit the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle. Town code does not allow manufactured housing in the park.
Flagg’s appealed the order, and when it lost the case with the town’s Appeals Board, brought a lawsuit against McDougal and the town to York County Superior Court.
The sides reached an agreement this spring. Flagg’s had to remove the six units but could replace them with RVs that met the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle.
Flagg’s is also able to attach a “Florida room” or “add-a-room” to the new units. The agreement allows Flagg’s to have RVs not to exceed 8½ feet in width in travel mode. The wheels need to stay on the RV, and must be capable of being transported without the assistance of a commercial truck, according to the consent judgment.
New units have been moved into the park, but are not yet set up for occupancy, according to those interviewed. McDougal said he has yet to inspect the new units to make sure they fit the standards of the order, but would do so soon. York’s case was precedent setting. McDougal said last year he received numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who wanted to know how York handled the issue.
Flagg’s RV Resort LLC is owned by Morgan RV Resorts LLC in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., which owns numerous RV parks nationwide. Robert Moser, who heads Morgan, said the new units at Flagg’s are eight feet wide. The company has yet to decide whether to bring in more park-owned units, or seasonal recreational vehicles, to fill the vacant sites.
After a year of dispute, the town of York, Maine, and Flagg’s RV Resort LLC have come to an agreement over new seasonal units moved into the York Beach camper park last spring.
Seacoastonline.com reported that under the agreement, the six park model units in question must be removed within 60 days. Flagg’s will then be allowed to replace the units with RVs that meet the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle.
The agreement allows Flagg’s to have RVs not to exceed 8 1/2 feet in width in travel mode. The wheels need to stay on the RV and they need to be capable of being transported without the assistance of a commercial truck, according to the consent judgment.
The consent judgment also allows, after application for a building permit, the installation or attachment of a “Florida room” or “add-a-room” as allowed in other campgrounds. Flagg’s also agrees to pay York $1,000 to cover town costs and attorney fees.
The consent judgment dismisses a pending action in York County Superior Court brought by Flagg’s after Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal issued the park a Notice of Violation and Order for Correction Action on June 28 that was upheld by the town Board of Appeals in September.
Flagg’s owner, Robert Moser, argued the six units that were “park models” were recognized in the industry as recreational vehicles. McDougal disagreed, saying they more closely resembled dwellings and were therefore not allowed in the park by town ordinance.
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, he has said.
Last spring, Flagg’s told an estimated 10 seasonal residents of the park to move out their privately owned RVs to make way for the new units.
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.