The Lake Adventure Community Association (LACA), representing a campsite development in Milford, Pa., is taking on the local township again with regard to placement of 12-foot-wide park models.
As reported by the Pike County Courier, in a recent statement to the press, the association said it has been requesting for the last year, that Dingman Township officials recognize one-piece 12-foot-wide recreational vehicle park trailers as a natural expansion of recreational vehicles for placement in Lake Adventure.
Since Lake Adventure’s inception in the early 1970’s, park models equipped with a full slideout have been placed in the community. Prior to 2010, Dingman Township did not require any placement permits for any type of recreational vehicle or recreational vehicle park trailer in Lake Adventure.
Despite what the release claims has been Lake Adventure’s best efforts to provide Dingman Township with voluminous and adequate documentation that one-piece 12-foot-wide recreational vehicles are now standard in the camping industry, and better for the community as a whole, Dingman Township continues to prevent the placement.
“As with the last instance, the latest news release from Lake Adventure Community Association misses the point,” according to a statement in response from the Dingman Township Supervisors.
“LACA has never applied for an amendment to its zoning/subdivision and land development approval to include these newer non-travel trailer types of units. They have been told repeatedly that this is the proper procedure and they refuse to do so. Although the township has attempted to negotiate LACA has not even responded to our letters and it is clear that this process has been abandoned by them.”
Kropf Industries Inc., a manufacturer of luxury park model homes, has been Certified Green by TRA Certification Inc.
According to a press release, the company’s building practices and materials have earned them bronze status and Kropf is now labeling homes with Certified Green labels. The Goshen, Ind.-based builder reached the requirements for the following evaluated categories: Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality and Operation & Maintenance.
Kropf park model homes incorporate LED lighting, Energy Star refrigerators, low-flow toilets and sustainably harvested OSB. They also recycle cardboard, copper wire, aluminum and steel.
For more information on Kropf Park Models visit www.kropfind.com. For more information on green certification, visit www.certifiedgreenrvs.com or contact Mandy Leazenby at 1-800-398-9282.
Cavco Industries Inc. today (Nov. 3) announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of its fiscal year 2012 ended Sept. 30.
Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $130 million, up 183% from $45.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, according to a news release.
As previously reported, Fleetwood Homes Inc., a subsidiary owned 50% by Cavco and 50% by Third Avenue Value Fund (TAVFX), completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and assumption of certain liabilities of Palm Harbor Homes Inc. during the quarter ended June 30, 2011.
Palm Harbor had been in the business of manufacturing and marketing factory-built housing and providing related consumer financing and insurance products. The aggregate gross purchase price, exclusive of transaction costs, specified liabilities assumed and post-closing adjustments, was $83.9. The results of the Palm Harbor operations have been included in the consolidated financial statements since acquisition.
Net income for the fiscal 2012 second quarter was $3.2 million compared to $1.2 million reported in the same quarter one year ago. During the quarter, the company incurred $120,000 in acquisition-related costs for the purchase of the Palm Harbor Homes assets and expects to have additional transaction-related expenses during the remainder of fiscal year 2012.
“We are glad to report positive earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Cavco benefited from higher order rates during the quarter, which translated into improved results compared to recent quarters and demonstrates the operating leverage we believe exists in the Cavco group of companies,” said Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, while commenting on the quarter.
Interest expense of $1,916,000 was recognized during the second quarter of fiscal 2012, 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 second quarter was $1.6 million compared to $680,000 reported in the same quarter one year ago. Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was 24 cents versus basic and diluted net income per share of 10 cents last year.
For the first six months of fiscal 2012, net sales increased 145% to nearly $229 million from $93.4 million for the comparable prior year period. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2012 was $23.8 million compared to $2 million last year. Included in net income for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2011, was a gain on bargain purchase of $22 million resulting from the acquisition of Palm Harbor, as adjusted during the fiscal 2012 second quarter and calculated in accordance with the accounting standards for business combinations.
Until recently, Cavco Industries Inc.’s marketing reach was largely confined to the Western half of the United States, with most of its park model sales occurring within a few hundred miles of its factory in Phoenix.
According to a press release, it wasn’t until 2006 that Cavco opened a factory in Texas, which gave it access to the Texas market.
But with its recent acquisitions of Fleetwood Homes and Palm Harbor Homes, Cavco said it now has more production facilities than any other company in the park model business.
“It gives us a strategic advantage,” said Joseph Stegmayer, Cavco’s president and CEO, “because having multiple facilities lowers the freight costs for campground operators who purchase Cavco park models.”
Cavco’s Rocky Mount, Va., factory was the first to broaden its product lines to include park models, which it did last year. This year, however, Cavco is also producing park models in Woodburn, Ore., Napa, Idaho, Austin, Texas, and Plant City, Fla.
Combine the multiple factory locations with Cavco’s increasing innovations
in park model designs, which now include off-grid solar-power park models and custom designed units for Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and other companies, and it’s easy to see how Cavco has managed to achieve at least modest sales growth at a time in which most companies continue to struggle with the recession.
“I think we have to be somewhat cautious given the economy overall,” Stegmayer said. “But there are a lot of positives to our park model cabins. There’s the lower price points, the affordability aspect. We’re also willing to try anything. We’ve done a lot of prototyping of various units, not only in the campground arena, but in the dealer arena, and that helps us a lot. It helps us bolster our reputation for being very flexible, very creative.”
This has helped Cavco increase its business with KOA, which holds its annual convention in Las Vegas next week. It also enables the company to participate in upcoming tradeshows elsewhere in the country, including the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show, which takes place Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky., and the Outdoor Hospital Convention and Tradeshow, which the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is hosting in Savannah, Ga., from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. Cavco will also showcase its park models at the Tampa RV Show, which is slated for Jan. 10.
And while Cavco has derived much of its park model business from campgrounds the past couple of years, the company is also seeing renewed signs of interest from consumers who want to purchase a park model and have it set up in a campground for use as a weekend retreat or vacation cottage.
“It’s a much lower investment than investing in a second home or condo or even a large RV,” Stegmayer said.
For more information on Cavco’s park model products, visit www.cavcoparkhomes.com.
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.