Campground operators attending next week’s KOA Convention and Trade Expo in Las Vegas will be the first in the country to see Cavco Industries’ newest off-grid, solar-powered park model cottage.
“This is the first of a new generation of off-grid, solar powered park models,” said Joseph Stegmayer, president and CEO of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco, adding that the company’s newest unit is “the most environmentally friendly park model cottage on the market.”
NTA Inc., a Nappanee, Ind.-based company that specializes in certifying “green” manufacturers, said Cavco’s newest off-grid solar-powered park model not only has “Emerald” status, its highest rating, but is the most eco-friendly park model the company has evaluated to date.
“Cavco is definitely raising the bar for the industry,” said Alan Reder, NTA’s senior project manager.
Built with 2-by-6 sidewalls, the unit features cork flooring, formaldehyde-free fiberglass wall insulation and phase change insulation in the ceiling, which help maintain relatively stable interior temperatures as outside temperatures rise and fall. Environmentally friendly adhesives, sealants and coatings are also used to maximize insulation while also improving indoor air quality.
Other features include composite decking, an instant hot-water heater, a dual flush toilet that uses about 1.2 gallons per flush, Energy Star appliances and energy-saving LED lighting.
The unit is equipped with solar panels, but it can also receive electricity from wind turbines and even hydroelectric power. It also comes equipped with a 6-KW Generac battery charging system for backup power. “If there’s no sun, wind or hydroelectric power available and the battery dips below a pre-set voltage level, it sends a signal to the generator to provide electrical backup,” said Bob Cramer, a technical trainer with Waukesha, Wis.-based Generac Power Systems.
Representatives from more than 500 KOA franchisees are expected to see the off-grid unit next week, while it’s on display at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. From there, Cavco literally plans to take its off-grid, solar powered park model on the road.
Steve Lefler, an Advanced Certified Green building professional in California, will be taking the unit to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts throughout California and the West so they can see first-hand what an off-grid, solar powered park model looks like and how they can incorporate it into their business.
“We’re going to be pulling this unit up and down California, helping people understand what it is,” said Tim Gage, Cavco’s national vice president of park models, cabins and specialty products.
Cavco is also bringing two of its custom designed park model rental cabins to the Las Vegas convention, which are built to KOA’s 2012 specifications. The new units have been upgraded to include commercial grade flooring, which is more wear resistant, as well as a special area with multiple outlets so that laptop computers, cell phones and other electronic devices can be conveniently recharged in one place.
More information about Cavco’s off grid, solar-powered park model as well as its last cabin rental products is available at www.cavco.com and www.koalodges.com.
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.
The York, Maine, Board of Appeals on Oct. 26, denied Flagg’s RV and Cottage Resort LLC a reconsideration of a September decision upholding a town order for the company to remove six new units it moved into the York Beach camper park this past spring.
Seacoastonline.com reported that the town calls the units dwellings, which are not allowed in the park, while Flagg’s claims they are “park models,” recognized by industry, state and federal standards as recreational vehicles. RVs are allowed at Flagg’s as a legal, nonconforming use.
In their Sept. 14 decision, Appeals Board members said they had to make a decision based on town ordinances. Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal claimed the new units are not RVs by town standards because they are portable only as escorted “wide loads,” unlike street legal RVs; they 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.
Robert Moser, president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, which owns Flaggs, took issue with the basis of the Appeals Board September decision, called findings of fact. Moser claimed through his attorney, improper testimony was given at the Sept. 14 hearing about the wheels being removed from the units. Moser asked the board to reconsider both the wording of the findings of fact and its September decision. The board denied both requests Wednesday, according to McDougal. Therefore, his June 28 notice of violation and order to remove the six new dwelling units, stands.
The denial opens the door to a potential appeals by Flagg’s to the York County Superior Court. Neither Moser, nor his attorney David Ordway, of Saco, could be reached for comment Thursday (Oct. 27).
Seacoastonline.com reported that McDougal said York’s case is being watched as precedent setting. He has fielded numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who want to know how York is handling the issue, McDougal said. Park models have become the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
“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.
Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratago Springs, N.Y., owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. It has had no other problems with park models in other towns, according to Moser.
This past spring, Flagg’s management told 10 RV owners in the park to remove their RVs to make way for six new park models. One seasonal resident said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, compared to the park models, which rent for an estimated $1,400 a week. This past summer, Flagg’s asked the remaining seasonal campers to pay upwards of $13,000 in membership fees to reserve summer spots in future years.
When Morgan tried a similar move at its Peters Pond development in Massachusetts, asking residents of the Cape Cod housing community to pay a $16,000 membership fee, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the company for allegedly intimidating residents into paying what she called “exorbitant” fees, according to an Aug. 23 released statement from her office. After the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office sued, Morgan stopped pursuing the request for a membership fee at Flagg’s.
The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has designated Athens Park Homes as an endorsed provider for park model sales to Texas parks.
“Athens Park Homes has been a member of TACO for many years. They have supplied hundreds of park models to our members. They provide great products and service, and we wholeheartedly recommend them and their products,” Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO, stated in a news release.
He added that Athens’ endorsed provider status translates into significant savings and other benefits for TACO members.
For starters, any TACO member that purchases a park model from Athens Park Homes will receive a free Galvalume metal roof, which is normally a $900 upgrade, as well as a two-year warranty instead of the standard one-year warranty that comes with each park model.
Texas parks also benefit from the fact that Athens Park Homes is based in Athens, Texas, which translates into lower park model shipping costs compared to the prices Texas park operators would pay if they purchase park models from out-of-state providers.
Schaeffer said Athens will have an increased presence at upcoming TACO trade shows, including its Oct. 23rd fall tour at The Vineyard Campground and Cabins in Grapevine, which coincidentally has had a terrific consumer response to the eight park model cabins it installed last year.
Athens has also agreed to donate the profits from the sale of one of its highly appointed park model units at the TACO Spring Show (auction) to support the association’s government affairs program, and to increase its advertising presence in TACO’s award-winning Texas RV Travel & Camping Guide, Schaeffer said.
“We’re very excited to receive TACO’s endorsement,” said Dick Grymonprez, vice president of sales and marketing for Athens Park Homes, which has enjoyed a 17% increase in January through September park model sales compared to last year’s figures.
Founded in 2004, Athens currently accounts for about 8% of the nation’s park model sales, Grymonprez said, adding that much of Athens’ recent sales involve campgrounds that are purchasing park models for use as rental accommodations.
Wyoming’s Teton County planning staff released the first draft of a set of rules Thursday (Oct. 13) that would allow campground owners to bring recreational park trailers onto their properties, albeit with special permission from the county.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that the rules would allow campground owners to fill up to half of their total campsites with the trailers, though the number allowed to campground owners would be set on a case-by-case basis.
The proposed rules are of keen interest to neighbors to and owners of RV parks as recreational park trailers become more popular and have been brought to Teton County. While they are trailed to the campgrounds behind trucks, once parked they are rarely moved, making some neighbors ask whether the campgrounds are becoming de facto hotels.
Campground owners say demand for the units represents a new form of travel and recreation. Use of the units saves the gas that would otherwise be required by people who want to stay in campground trailers.
Campground owners would not be allowed to use permanent foundations for the trailers and would have to ensure that they could be removed if the need arose. In addition, only the county building official could approve a request to remove the wheels from the trailers.
The proposed rules would require campground owners to submit annual monitoring reports about the trailers to the county. The reports would track the rental history of the units, including the arrival and departure dates of guests, and the number of vehicles present during each campground stay.
County staff would have the ability to suspend or revoke the permit of any campground owner found to be in violation of the new rules.
The proposed rules define recreational park trailers as “a trailer type that is primarily designed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.”
Coupled with that definition is a set of criteria that outlines specific features of the trailers. The trailers must be built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels with a gross trailer that is no more than 400 square feet and certified by a manufacturer as being in compliance with national standards related to the trailers.
Under the proposed rules, the trailers only could be rented on a short-term basis — no more than 30 days in any 60-day period — and would have to be owned by a single entity.
The on-going battle involving the Lake Adventure Recreation Vehicle Park in Pennsylvania’s Pike County continued Sept. 29 before the Dingman Township Zoning Hearing Board.
The board was hearing an appeal of a permit denial that would have allowed trailers with larger bodies – specifically park models – requiring state travel permits to be placed in the campground, The Pike County Courier, Milford, reported.
Lake Adventure attorney Tammy Clause and Dingman Township Solicitor John Klemeyer debated on the standards by which a recreational vehicle is measured. The township’s definition of a recreational vehicle was amended in June, setting a maximum size of 400 square feet (in use) and width (for transport) no greater than 8 1/2 feet, but trailers requiring state permitting were disallowed. The campground wants this last provision amended.
The size requirement was previously only in effect for travel trailers, but now encompass all recreational vehicles.
The amendment to the initial zoning ordinance, which came as a result of the alleged environmental damage caused by larger recreational vehicles, poses problems for residents of the Lake Adventure community who own vehicles that exceed the mandated 300 square feet and which now require special permits to move their trailers.
The Lake Adventure community and its contracted engineer, Robert Ferri of Nicholas Engineering, claim the 400-square-foot units have little impact on the environment, stating on the Lake Adventure website that “the new units actually have a positive impact on our [Lake Adventure’s] infrastructure and ecological environmental impact.”
During the meeting, Clause argued, as she had previously, that the board’s zoning amendment did not comply with other nationwide regulations for recreation vehicles. She additionally defended the lack of pollutants emitted from the 400-square-foot models.
In order to emphasize her point, she relied on the testimony of three witnesses: Lake Adventure Compliance Officer Kenny Ranoul, Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) board member John Soard, and Lake Adventure board member Tom Annunziata.
Ranoul testified that of the 1,964 billable lots in Lake Adventure, 1,732 are occupied and 989 are park model units. Of those park model units, Ranoul said, 983 have slideouts, or models that expand to reach a width greater than 12 feet. Under the amended ordinance, slideouts would not classify as recreational vehicles and would consequently require a special highway hauling permit to be brought into Lake Adventure.
“There is no other community that is restricted by a hauling permit except for Lake Adventure Community Association,” Clause said, to Klemeyer’s objection.
“That’s simply not true,” he countered. “All recreational vehicles within the township must comply with the zoning ordinance.”
Following Klemeyer’s cross examination of Ranoul, in which Lake Adventure’s definition of a travel trailer was debated further, witnesses John Soard and Tom Annunziata took the stand.
Soard, affiliated with park model builder Fairmont Park Trailers in Nappanee, Ind., testified that he knew of no other jurisdictions in which 400-square-foot units required a hauling permit, prompting attorney Clause to make the case that the township’s amendment is not uniform with the rest of the state or even with the rest of the country. Annunziata added that as a newcomer to the community in 1989, he moved in under the assumption that recreational vehicles of all types were welcome.
With the three witnesses at rest, Clause attempted to present a report on the lack of environmental damage caused by the recreational vehicles in Lake Adventure. Her attempt prompted Klemeyer to object, claiming it was unrelated to the case at hand.
The board sided with Klemeyer.
Saying he lacked the resources to make a final argument, Klemeyer requested another meeting to finalize the proceedings. Despite Clause’s vehement objections, a new meeting was scheduled for Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.
Park model builder Pinnacle Park Homes Inc. reports a 20% increase in year-over-year sales, spurred by the growing popularity of cabin rentals at RV parks.
“Pinnacle Park Homes is pleased to announce that sales are up 20% over 2010 thanks in part to the increase in cabin rentals,” said sales manager, Andy Davis, in a news release. “We have been educating campground owners since 2003 that cabin rentals are a must and many are listening.”
“Earlier this year, Pinnacle Park Homes released a new line of rental cabins exclusively for the campground industry,” said Randy Stewart Jr., production manager and co-owner of the Ochlocknee, Ga.-based builder. “We don’t build to any and every code, we build to one code. This way our clients will know that the product they receive is built right. Our team takes great pride in their workmanship.”
For more information, contact Pinnacle Park Homes at 866-574-5159 or visit them on the web at www.pinnacleparkhomes.com.
For families and individuals in Pennsylvania displaced by flooding from both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, it is still unknown whether they will receive FEMA trailers or when the temporary housing will arrive.
The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that as of Thursday (Sept. 29), Mike Sweet, a FEMA spokesman, said there is still no definitive date for temporary housing units to be delivered, and it is unclear how many people will actually receive temporary housing.
Sweet said not everyone who applies will be eligible for a FEMA trailer.
“Only a small percentage of applicants actually receive temporary housing units,” Mr. Sweet said. The agency is now using park model units to house victims.
People need to register with FEMA to be eligible, followed by a step-by-step process of interviews. First, FEMA examines information provided by each individual through registration – specifically how much damage was recorded and if their house is in livable condition.
If the structure is deemed uninhabitable, FEMA then looks at awarding rental assistance, a monthly rent stipend based on fair market rate for that area. Homeowners, if qualified, can be eligible for two months of assistance initially, then are required to recertify from month to month, up to 18 months.
If a rental property can’t be found, then temporary housing units are considered, but only after all other options are considered.
“The temporary housing units is not the first choice housing resource,” Mr. Sweet said.
As of Thursday, FEMA identified 2,900 people throughout Pennsylvania who will be called for pre-placement interviews, determining whether or not they have found a place to live and if they qualify for a housing unit, Mr. Sweet said.
The park model units are two bedrooms and are approximately 34 feet long by 12 feet wide, Mr. Sweet said, which would be adequate for a family of four. He said the trailers come furnished with a table, chairs, couches, beds, stove and refrigerator.
The locations of potential housing units are still to be determined.
If and when an individual is awarded a FEMA trailer, Sweet said there are three possible housing sites the unit could be placed: a commercial pad in an already existing mobile home park; a private site, where the trailer would be placed on an individual’s private land; or a community site, where FEMA would acquire land and build a site for units.
But no matter what site is chosen, two basic requirements must be met.
“All three have to have readily available utilities such as electricity, water and sewage,” Mr. Sweet said. “The temporary housing units can’t be placed in a flood plain.”
Local emergency agencies are in communication with FEMA to aid in selecting the best sites possible, should housing units be delivered.
The York, Maine, Appeals Board agreed last week with a town code enforcement officer that six “park models,” or trailers, that moved into Flagg’s RV & Cottage Resorts earlier this year are not recreational vehicles and must be moved.
Seacoastonline reported that the Appeals Board voted 4-0, with member Elizabeth Bardwell abstaining, to uphold the action issued June 28 to Flagg’s by Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal to remove the units.
Robert Moser, president of Morgan RV Resorts, the owner of Flagg’s, said Tuesday (Sept. 20) he had yet to speak to his attorney about a potential appeal. Both Moser and his attorney, David Ordway of Smith & Eliott in Saco, attended Wednesday’s meeting.
Ordway said after the meeting he wanted to see the board’s findings of fact, the basis of its ruling, before deciding whether to appeal. The findings of fact are expected to be available by the board’s next meeting Sept. 28.
In his notice of violation, McDougal said the park models resembled manufactured housing rather than portable recreational vehicles. Manufactured housing is prohibited in the area under the town’s zoning ordinances.
Ordway argued park models are recognized in the industry and by federal and state standards as recreational vehicles. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not classify them as manufactured housing, he said.
Members of the Appeals Board said they had to make a decision based on town ordinances, not federal or state standards.
McDougal said his biggest concern under the ordinance was whether the park models or trailers were portable. The trailers were brought in as oversized loads, he said, and are not easily portable.
Ordway said the ordinance says the units must be portable and says nothing about being “easily portable.”
At least 50 people attended the meeting. Many are seasonal residents of Flagg’s, returning to the Garrison Road camper park year after year.
“I think it was an excellent decision,” said resident Walter Majewski. “I think they did the right thing for the town.”
Other residents, clearly happy with the decision, declined comment, indicating they feared getting evicted from the campground.
This spring, Flagg’s management told 10 seasonal residents of the campground to move their recreational vehicles out of the park to make way for the six park models. The units were made available for weekly rental.
Barbara Campbell, a Garrison Road resident, said she didn’t want them in the park because of the increased traffic from weekly or nightly tourists. Most Flagg’s campers stay for the entire summer season.
Park model builder Woodland Park Inc. will be hosting an Open House at the company’s manufacturing complex in Middlebury, Ind., Sept. 20-22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The event will coincide with the 4th Annual Elkhart County Manufacturers’ Open House running Sept. 19-23.
“It will be an Open House unlike any we’ve had for 20 years,” said David Burroughs, North American sales manager for Woodland Park, founded in 1983.
According to a press release, Woodland Park will display new park models designed for both the U.S. and Canadian markets. “In fact, we will have one of the largest displays of custom-built park models in Elkhart County,” Burroughs adds. “This will give our dealers the chance to see first-hand the quality and customization that goes into each Woodland Park model.
“We’ll feature exciting residential options in décor, furniture, appliances and wood finishes, touches that give Woodland Park homes that designer feel. The dealers will also have the opportunity to meet our staff, ask product questions and learn more about Woodland Park products and how they can thoroughly satisfy a dealer’s clientele.”
A dealer’s luncheon is planned on Sept. 20 at 11:00 a.m. “There we will welcome dealers, new and old, and treat them to lunch,” said Burroughs.
Cavco Industries Inc., a builder of manufactured housing and park models based in Phoenix, reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 ending June 30.
Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $98,981,000, up 108% from $47,505,000 for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011.
Net income for the fiscal 2012 first quarter was $17.45 million compared to $850,000 reported in the same quarter one year ago. Included in net income for the quarter was a gain on bargain purchase of $18,8 million resulting from the acquisition of Palm Harbor Inc. Fleetwood Homes Inc., a subsidiary owned 50% by Cavco and 50% by Third Avenue Value Fund, completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and assumption of certain liabilities of Palm Harbor Homes on April 23, 2011. Palm Harbor had been in the business of manufacturing and marketing factory-built housing and providing related consumer financing and insurance products.
During the quarter, Cavco incurred $744,000 in acquisition related costs for the purchase of the Palm Harbor Homes assets. It expects to have additional transaction-related expenses during fiscal year 2012. Interest expense of $1,461,000 was recognized during the first quarter of fiscal 2012 since April 23, 2011, primarily related to securitized financings and a mortgage construction lending facility of the finance subsidiaries acquired.
Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for the fiscal 2012 first quarter was $8.6 million compared to $518,000 reported in the same quarter one year ago. Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was $1.26 and $1.25, respectively, versus basic and diluted net income per share of $0.08 last year.
Referring to the first fiscal quarter, Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, commented, “During this eventful quarter, we closed on the Palm Harbor transaction and continued the associated operations under their new ownership structure. The Palm Harbor businesses are in the process of transition and have already demonstrated resilience post-bankruptcy. Certain streamlining actions have taken place which should improve operating efficiencies and financial performance over time. Work will continue during the next several quarters to integrate the Palm Harbor retail, manufacturing, finance and insurance lines of business for the overall benefit of the Cavco group of companies.”
“With respect to marketplace conditions, general economic challenges, including low consumer confidence levels, unemployment and underemployment, overall housing sector weakness, and restricted mortgage loan markets continue to impede new home sales activity, even in the affordable housing market in which we operate. However, we believe Cavco’s strategic initiatives during the past two years, including the Fleetwood Homes and Palm Harbor transactions, improve our ability to pursue existing demand while better positioning us to take advantage of future opportunities.”
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and Skyline Corp. have negotiated an agreement that gives Skyline “preferred provider” status on park model and travel trailer sales to ARVC-member parks in the U.S. and Canada.
“I am very excited to have Skyline as a preferred provider,” said David L. Berg, ARVC chairman, adding that savings from a single park model purchase could offset the cost of ARVC dues for as much as 20 years.
“This agreement does not just cover rental units,” Berg said. “It covers all products that Skyline manufactures, including park models of all widths, towable travel trailers, park model cabins which they are designing specifically for ARVC members and mobile homes. The only restriction is that the member must use the units as rentals or sell them directly to their customers for use in their park.”
According to a press release, Skyline said the preferred provider agreement with ARVC should help boost sales for the Elkhart, Ind.-based company in an increasingly competitive market. “We’re looking forward to displaying some of our units at the upcoming Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo in Savannah,” said Terry Decio, Skyline’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Skyline has manufacturing facilities in Indiana, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oregon and California.
“With Skyline plans from New England to California, this will be a far reaching member benefit that the vast majority of our membership can enjoy,” Berg said.
ARVC is the national trade association that represents the outdoor hospitality industry. Based in Denver, Colo., membership includes over 3,300 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts throughout the United States. ARVC’s consumer website is www.GoCampingAmerica.com, while its industry website is www.ARVC.org.
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.
Cavco Industries Inc.’s acquisition of a Fleetwood factory in southern Virginia is playing an increasingly important role in the company’s market strategy by manufacturing a diverse mix of manufactured and park models for a growing dealer base.
According to a press release, before Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco acquired Fleetwood’s housing division two years ago, the Rocky Mount factory only built HUD-code homes, as it had since 1968.
But with the Cavco acquisition, the factory’s product mix now includes not only Fleetwood-brand manufactured homes, but Cavco’s own lines of manufactured homes as well as park models.
“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve been making,” said Tom Satterwhite, general manager of the Rocky Mount factory, which employs 60 people.
“We’re happy, too, because the Rocky Mount facility gives us a strategic market reach we didn’t have before,” said Tim Gage, vice president of Cavco’s specialty division, noting the company now has improved access to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states because expensive trucking costs have been eliminated.
In addition to manufactured housing, the plant is producing several new park model lines. The Rocky Mount factory initially produced custom-designed park model cabins for campgrounds affiliated with Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). But now the facility builds both cabins and traditional vinyl sided park models for a growing number of independently owned and operated parks as well as KOA-brand campgrounds throughout the Eastern U.S.
Cavco said the factory is also opening up new distribution channels for park models, both through street dealers and at campgrounds that want to sell the products to consumers as weekend retreats or vacation cottages.
“We’re constantly becoming stronger and getting more distribution and more retail turns on our product,” Satterwhite said.
The company said it is also developing growing number of sales leads through its websites and by participating in a growing number of tradeshows, such as the upcoming Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show, which is scheduled Sept. 14-18 in Hershey Pa., the National RV Tradeshow scheduled for Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky., along with North Carolina RV shows in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Ind., now has 25 new lodging options for families: Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins.
An investment of over $1.7 million, this new section of the award-winning resort involved at least 10 local contractors throughout this past winter and spring, and 10 additional seasonal jobs were added in housekeeping, grounds and maintenance, according to a news release. Lake Rudolph employs 130 seasonal and 12 full time staff.
Custom-made for Lake Rudolph by Kropf Industries Inc., in Goshen, Ind., the Christmas Cabins park models feature a master bedroom with a king bed, a large loft with a queen mattress and four twin mattresses, a large covered deck, three flat screen cable TVs, upscale appliances, an electric fireplace, picnic table, gas grill and central air conditioning. Each cabin sleeps four adults and four children. Pillows, pillowcases and fitted sheets are also provided.
“Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins are open during our regular operating season, and will also be open between Thanksgiving and January 1,” says Philip Koch, owner and president of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort. “Families can stay in these cabins and experience everything Santa Claus, Ind., has to offer during the Christmas season, including the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration and Lake Rudolph’s Santa Claus Land of Lights Family Christmas Light Adventure.”
Kropf Industries Inc., a third generation family business started in 1946, has been building park models for many years. The order of Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins has been the company’s largest single campground order since the late 1990s. “Lake Rudolph has a large rental fleet,” says Curt Yoder, vice president and co-owner of Kropf. “We hope it grows into more business down the road.”
Visit the campground’s website at www.LakeRudolph.com.
Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, two-time ARVC National RV Park of the Year, features 244 family lodging options including rental RVs and cabins. The campground also offers over 200 full-hookup RV sites and tent sites, including 100 sites with concrete pads. The resort is open daily through October 31. Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins are currently open and will also be available for lodging Nov. 25 through Jan. 1.