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RVIA Park Trailer Subcommittee Sets Meeting

March 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) newly formed Recreation Park Trailer (RPT) Technical Subcommittee will hold its inaugural meeting on April 16 in South Bend, Ind.

The new group has the responsibility of monitoring and updating all chapters within the ANSI A119.5 and NEC Article 552 standards for recreation park trailers, also known as park models. It will also review and approve necessary RPT Handbook Updates that will be forwarded to RVIA’s Standards Steering Committee and the RPT Committee for final review and approval, according to a news release.

The RPT Technical Subcommittee is chaired by Jon Walters of Cavco Industries Inc. Committee members include Gary Duncan, Forest River Inc., Park Model Division; Jerry Glenn, Kropf Manufacturing Co.; Jerry Miller, Woodland Park Inc.; Bob Phillips, Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.; Jimmy Sellers, Chariot Eagle Inc.; and John Soard, Fairmont Homes Inc.

At their first meeting, the subcommittee will discuss the scope of the group, review the status of code cycles for the ANSI A119.5 and NEC 552 standards and review various code change proposals and technical updates.

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RVIA Tech Subcommittees Review Standards

October 19, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) four technical subcommittees – heating, electrical, plumbing, and fire & life safety – met the week of Oct. 1 in Ft. Myers, Fla., to review and discuss various standards issues, according to a news release.

The subcommittees took action on proposed handbook updates based on the 2011 editions of NFPA 1192, ANSI 12V, and NEC. In addition, the subcommittees reviewed action taken on 2014 ANSI 12V, NEC & NFPA 1192 code change proposals to determine if any comments were necessary to be submitted into ANSI or NFPA.

This also marked the first time that recreational park trailer members were represented on all four technicals to consider Recreational Park Trailer Handbook Update proposals and 2014 ANSI A119.5 code changes up for review and action. All recreational park trailer recommendations resulting from the technical subcommittee meeting will be reviewed by RVIA’s Standards Steering Committee and then be forwarded to the Recreational Park Trailer Committee for final approval.

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RVIA Revisiting Emerging Park Model Industry

July 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is an excerpt from a story in Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) examining the evolution of the recreational park trailer industry and its new relationship with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). To read the entire article on the WCM website click here.

Campground owners and operators for a long time have had a good handle on “destination camping,” a concept that evolved from the development of the recreational park trailer (RPT) in the 1980s and blossomed through the expansion of traditional travel trailers into much larger units.

Whether they are called “seasonals,” “annuals” or “snowbirds,” the buyers or renters of these units have become a significant factor for both campgrounds and the RV manufacturers.

To be sure, there has always existed a certain disconnect between the campground industry and the RV builders about destination camping, but that may begin to disappear. Destination camping is finally getting the attention it deserves from its chief beneficiary, RV manufacturers.

This attention became apparent at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week June 11-13 in Washington, D.C., where the trade group’s ad hoc Destination Camping Committee embarked on a strategic plan to identify the scope of this rapidly growing segment of the market.

Mike Atkinson, director of lodging for Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and the lone campground representative on the committee, said this recognition by manufacturers is refreshing. “Having this melding of ideas is a great thing,” he said.

In the long-term, he sees campgrounds who purchase recreational park trailers or park models as rental units for their destination campers will benefit from the marketing dollars and governmental lobbying that RVIA will put into this segment of the industry.

In the meantime, RVIA is playing catch up.

While there is a variety of products that might qualify as destination camping types of accommodations, RVIA doesn’t really know how big this market is or how big it might yet get.

The concept of destination camping, which refers in part to “snowbirds,” RVers who keep their RV on one site all year or campers who rent an RV for a season at a single site, dates back at least to the 1980s and gained traction in the ’90s, according to John Soard, general manager for Fairmont Park Trailers, a division of Fairmont Homes in Nappanee, Ind. “The traditional concept of an RV being used on the road all the time is being circumvented by the customer parking their unit all the time,” he said.

“It’s taken the industry this long to recognize that’s a nice little market segment,” said Soard, who chairs the RVIA’s Recreational Park Trailer Committee and attended the Destination Camping Committee meeting, both of which were held during Committee Week.

Determining the breadth of that market is the focus of a survey the ad hoc committee commissioned through Precision Research, an Arizona-based firm that has done previous work for RVIA. Hard data is needed because everyone has an idea how big that market is but no one knows for certain, Soard says.

To read the entire article click here.

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Wyoming County Still Backing Park Model Ban

May 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Teton County commissioners in western Wyoming will pay an attorney $150 per hour to oversee a Buffalo Valley property owner’s appeal of a land-use ruling.

Commissioners agreed to hire attorney Mike Barton to handle an appeal hearing for Buffalo Valley RV Resort owner Harry Washut, who contends he should be allowed to bring recreational park trailers onto his property without special approval from county planners, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported. Even if Washut prevails, commissioners said they are not sure he would be allowed to bring recreational park trailers to his property.

Washut is challenging a decision made in March by Planning Director Jeff Daugherty that recreational park trailers are unlike other recreational vehicles in that they are semi-permanent. Recreational park trailers or park models are hard-sided units that sit on a chassis. They are hauled to campgrounds, where they are connected to electric and sewer services.

Commissioners questioned Washut’s appeal because a new set of rules has been put in place that regulate the use of recreational park trailers at campgrounds. Washut asked Daugherty to review the use of recreational park trailers under an old set of rules, which commissioners said would no longer apply to his project.

Attorney Melissa Owens, who is representing Washut, argued that the units are similar to other recreational vehicles and that Washut should be allowed to bring the recreational trailers to his property, regardless of changes to the county’s land-use rules. Owens and attorney David DeFazio filed an appeal in April.

Commissioners agreed to stop planning staff from forcing Washut to remove three recreational park trailers he already has at his campground.

Planning staff said the units were illegally brought to the campground. They held off taking action while Washut had a pending application. When he withdrew it, county staff sent a letter to Washut that threatened legal action if he did not remove the units.

In return, Washut’s attorney promised that he wouldn’t bring any more trailers to the property while the appeal was pending.

Washut has been trying to bring recreational park trailers to his property for two years. He went through several reviews and meetings with county staff and elected officials but was unable to secure approval of his request, through which he initially asked to bring more than a hundred recreational park trailers to his property. Washut faced a stiff challenge from a neighboring ranch owner, who hired a former state attorney general to oppose Washut.

Commissioners were nearing a decision on the project in April, but Washut withdrew his application, saying that he did not believe he needed special permission from the county to bring the units to his land. Washut is the only campground owner still fighting with the county about the trailers.

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Agreement Allows RPTIA Members to Join RVIA

March 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) have announced an agreement under which park trailer manufacturers will be able to join RVIA as members.

“This is something our members of RPTIA have been talking about for a long time. We feel this is the best time to move forward, and we are excited to be working with RVIA to better the park trailer and destination camping industry,” said Dick Grymonprez, chairman of RPTIA and vice president of sales and marketing for Athens Park Homes.

“We are very happy to welcome park trailer manufacturers as RVIA members,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We look forward to representing them and firmly believe that we can leverage our association services and programs to help these companies achieve their goals.”

RVIA’s board approved the agreement to have park trailer manufacturers join the association at its March 5 meeting in Palm Springs, Calif. In January, the RPTIA board and membership had a vote to suspend operations contingent upon favorable negotiations and the joint acceptance of a workable plan between RVIA and RPTIA that would result in park trailer manufacturers being allowed to join RVIA as voting members.

The agreement reached calls for a two-year trial period. RPTIA will “safe harbor” or “mothball” its association for these two years, pending an agreement of both parties to continue having RVIA represent park trailer manufacturers. An effective date of when park trailer manufacturers can join RVIA will be determined in the coming weeks.

As conditions of park trailer manufacturers joining RVIA:

• Park trailer members will have two representatives on the board.

• RVIA will form a Park Trailer Committee as one of the association’s standing committees.

• RVIA will continue the Destination Camping Committee and its efforts to study and recommend initiatives to grow this market segment.

• RVIA will hire a full-time senior level staff person who will report to Coon. This person will be responsible for providing guidance, managing information, serving as a spokesperson and representing park trailer manufacturers’ best interests.

• ANSI A119.5 will be recognized and accepted as a park trailer standard and will be maintained by RVIA’s Standards Steering Committee. RVIA inspectors will inspect park trailer plants at least twice per year.

• RVIA will continue efforts to have HUD accept the A119.5 as an exception to the Construction Code.

• RVIA’s Government Affairs Department will represent the legislative interests of recreational park trailer manufacturers at both the state and federal levels.

• Park trailers members will be treated the same in terms of participation at the National RV Trade Show, with the understanding that there are size restrictions.

 

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General Coach Canada Focus: Park Trailers

January 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Click here for a 3D tour of a General Coach Canada recreational park trailer.

When Roger Faulkner nine months ago bought General Coach Canada in Hensall, Ontario, from Thor Industries Inc., the first thing he did was stop building traditional travel trailers, choosing instead to focus on recreational park trailers.

”I sold all the equipment so that I can’t ever be tempted to get in to RVs again,” Faulkner told RVBUSINESS.com. ”I have to remain focused in one direction or I’ll fail. The RV business is strong, but as a little guy up in Canada, I couldn’t compete in the RV business with the Forest Rivers and the Thors of the world.”

Faulkner, then-president of Thor’s Citair Inc., dba General Coach Canada, purchased the 60-year-old company from Thor on April 30, 2010, for an undisclosed sum. Thor had purchased the manufacturer of Citation travel trailers, in the early 1980s as one of the early acquisitions of Thor founder Wade F.B. Thompson.

Faulkner’s son, Chris, is vice president of sales and marketing.

Faulkner said that following his purchase, General Coach is establishing itself as a manufacturer of Huron Ridge entry-level, mid-range and high-end park models. ”I can build something for $35,000 and something for $200,000 and all points in between,” he said. ”I custom build so there’s not anything I won’t do as far as park models.”

General Coach, with 110 employees, is a ”preferred vendor” to Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), and Camping in Ontario, a Canadian campground association, and markets Huron Ridge recreational park trailers in Canada and in the northeastern U.S., although U.S. sales have been flagging recently because of the weak American dollar versus the Canadian dollar.

”It’s going as well as can be expected,” Faulkner said. ”It’s wintertime in Canada and not much is happening right now. But we’re doing fine.”

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Silvercrest Park Models Sited at Dune Resort

December 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Silvercrest model

Artist's rendering of a Silvercrest park model on site at Marina Dunes Beach Resort, Marina, Calif.

Recreational park trailers built by Silvercrest/Western Homes Division, Woodland, Calif., are earmarked for an upscale oceanfront park model project, Marina Dunes Beach Resort, under development in Marina, Calif.

The Marina Dunes Beach Resort project is the repositioning of an oceanfront recreational vehicle resort into an ocean dunes beach cottage destination, according to an offering statement. The resort is located on the California coast just steps from a dune preserve in Marina, about 10 minutes north of Monterey. The existing lots and new cottage units will be sold to the first 62 buyers.

The target buyer is seeking beach properties for sale in a popular destination with prime beach real estate. They are a young or retired couple, two couples desiring to share the unit or a family that seeks an oceanfront cottage that sleeps up to four comfortably, looking for a way to enjoy all that the Monterey Peninsula offers, at an affordable price. The price of the lot and home will range between $299,000 and $399,000, depending on the size of the lot selected.

A maximum stay of 29 consecutive days is allowed pursuant to the conditional use permit (CUP) that the property is subject to. If a home owner wishes to stay more than 29 consecutive days, then they must leave for one night and can return for another consecutive 29 days. The sponsorship of the project does not see this as a material issue as most second homeowners use their second homes for one to four weeks at a time, go home or to another vacation destination and then return at another time for a similar duration.

This is not a timeshare. Ownership of a lot is exclusive to the owner. Common area amenities will include a clubhouse with game room, billiards, flat screen TV, fireplace, exercise room and kitchen facilities. A large outdoor patio/bbq spaces, a playground, fire pit, bocci ball, putting green and jacuzzi/spa also are planned.

For more information visit  www.marinadunesbeachresort.com.

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Park Models to Rebound ‘Slow and Gradual’

September 24, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

William Garpow, RPTIA

William Garpow, RPTIA

The recreational park trailer segment of the RV industry took its hits just like traditional RV builders during the Great Recession. And its recovery may take a bit longer than the mainstream towable market.

That’s according to William Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), who says park models’ customer base is the cause.

”The reason is, our particular consumer is 55 to 70 years of age,” Garpow told RVBUSINESS.com. ”They are facing retirement and their 401(k) took a 35% dip and their house dropped 30% in value. They haven’t got the time to make back the dollars they had before they retire.

”As a consequence, they still may want to get into a park trailer, but they have to do everything they can to build their nest egg while they are still working.”

Garpow reported that shipments of park trailers reached a high of about 12,000 units in 2006 before falling to about 6,0000 units last year. ”Still, that wasn’t as bad as other segments of the industry and now 20% of what we lost has come back,” he said. ”But it’s slow and gradual.”

New Pinnacle Park Homes park model with twin porches

New Pinnacle Park Homes park model with twin porches

One thing going for park trailer dealers during the economic turbulence, Garpow said, was that most weren’t under pressure from lenders to bring down large inventories. ”Park trailers traditionally are not inventoried,” he said. ”The products that we are shipping are custom built, so we weren’t affected by that.”

Some of the park models on display at last week's Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.

Some of the park models on display at last week's Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.

He said RPTIA, with headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Newnan, Ga., ”hasn’t lost any significant number of manufacturers,” during the downturn and that business right now ”is steady and it seems to be fairly decent.”

A factor working in favor of the park trailer segment’s recovery is an emphasis on adding park models as rental units at rates several times higher than those charged for regular campground sites by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Jellystone franchiser Leisure Systems Inc. and other parks.

”We identified this has a very strong potential market about 15 years ago,” Garpow said. ”The rental part has really come alive in the last three or four years.”

Fairmont Park Trailer display at Hershey show.

Fairmont Park Trailer display at Hershey show.

For campgrounds in designated rural areas that want to expand their park model inventory, Garpow said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a viable source of guaranteed financing.

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Nevada City Rejects 620-Site Park Model Project

June 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A crowd of west-side residents persuaded the Pahrump (Nev.) Regional Planning Commission June 9 to unanimously reject a plan to construct a 620-site recreational vehicle park with recreational park trailers on the southwest corner of Barney Street and Betty Avenue.

Rockingham Realty Nevada 2 LLC requested the rezoning of 60 acres from rural homestead to mixed use for the development. The company also requested a major master plan amendment and conditional use permit, according to the Pahrump Valley Times.

The RPC had reviewed proposed development standards for recreational park trailers in the zoning code. The board considered the development at a March 10 meeting, but continued the item until Rockingham Realty representatives could host a neighborhood meeting June 2 at the Bob Ruud Community Center.

That neighborhood meeting failed to still some complaints. Seven people came to the microphone to voice concerns. Commissioners were also given a petition in opposition, signed by 130 people.

“The potential to become a blight on this community is incredible,” neighbor Lois Mills said.

Mills said the project was tabled so the developers could address issues about density. The only change was coloring the green spaces to make them stand out, she said.

“It’s still too dense to be placed next to a low density housing area. Where’s the buffer?” Mills asked.

She also criticized plans called for 12 acres of commercial development.

“We lived 40 years in Las Vegas. We moved out here to get away from the lights, the inconvenience of all the noise and we wanted some peace and quiet in our elderly years,” Shirley Jewell said.

She said there would be too little visitor parking.

“I have spoken to practically all the people in this neighborhood. Not one of them is in favor of this zoning change. They all want to keep the zoning the way it is,” Harold Jewell said.

He questioned where the water would come from.

“We purchased this property to get away from the congested, overcrowded, cookie-cutter development. This area was all zoned RH 4.5 and was designated on the master plan as low density development. We believed it would provide a quiet, rural setting where we could raise animals,” Christine Leason said.

She estimated 620 units would translate into 6,237 vehicle trips per day.

County planner Steve Osborne said they estimate 10 vehicle trips per day per resident. But RPC member Mark Kimball said that’s for a single-family resident. The intention of this development is to provide facilities for residents that may keep them on the site, Kimball said.

Dave Richards, from CivilWise Services, representing Rockingham Realty, said there’s a lot of open space, with a common area and a yard around each unit. It is intended as an age-restricted community for people 55 years and older, Richards said.

“Pretty much all the amenities an RV park will provide, but this is intended for an extended stay. There will be no campers, motorhomes allowed on the site. They’re specifically park models which are like a little cottage, a small home intended for one or two people,” Richards said.

Issues regarding traffic, drainage and landscaping will be addressed in the design phase, Richards said. A six-foot, decorated, block wall with landscaping on the outside shouldn’t interfere with neighbors’ views of the mountains, he said.

But Richards admitted: “You drive around Pahrump, you look at RV parks that have been put in, they tend to turn into dives or slums.”

But Richards said the lots will be owned by the company and rented or leased to occupants. He said the company intends to have a strict set of requirements.

Kimball noted the same developer outlined plans for the Beverly Park planned unit development, approved in September 2007, in which Rockingham Realty planned to build 864 two-story condominiums on 72 acres across the street. That project was to include amenities like a senior center, a medical center, gas station and golf cart paths.

Marianne Barrett noted that PUD has a three-year time limit, set to expire this year.

“Mr. Richards says that proposed development is going to share facilities with Beverly Park development across the street. I might point out that development does not exist,” Leason said.

Kimball suggested cutting down the density by downsizing the project. He thought 350 RV units would be a more appropriate number.

Kimball said he was originally excited about the Beverly Park project.

“I suspect part of the reason that (rezoning) is about to expire is the difficulty we have in this valley with infrastructure. The cost to bring the promised utilities to that project is probably astronomical at this point,” Kimball said.

RPC member Carrick “Bat” Masterson said he didn’t have a problem with the project, it was the location, too far from the center of town.

“It’s in a rural area and that’s my problem. These people do have the right to the type of life they wanted,” Masterson said.

RPC member Nevada Tolladay said it was nice to have development in tough times, but it’s his belief not all development is good development.

RPC member Norma Jean Opatik felt the 55 and older crowd was more active than proponents said.

“You’re going to have much more activity in this community than what’s being presented,” she said.

Opatik said she anticipates Rockingham Realty requesting an extension of time to develop Beverly Park.

“When people bought property and they see the master plan, they anticipate that master plan will stand,” Opatik said.

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Jersey Decision May Hurt Park Model Industry

May 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Operators of a New Jersey campground and RV dealership have lost their appeal of a case involving the rental and placement of recreational park trailers or park models in the Garden State.

In a receimagent decision, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appealate Division, sided with the state’s Department of Community Affairs in a case involving the Tall Timbers Property Owners Association Inc., Pleasant Acres Campground Inc. and owners Edward and Deanna Tilton. The court ruled that park model or recreational park trailers fall under the same guidelines as manufactured housing.

Background

On Nov. 30, 2006, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) adopted an interpretive regulation, N.J.A.C. 5:23-9.3, which determined that recreational park trailers are subject to the State Uniform Construction Code, adopted under the authority of the Uniform Construction Code Act (UCC Act), N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 to -141. On June 17, 2008, the DCA adopted a new set of regulations, which established standards for the design, manufacture, and installation of recreational park trailers, N.J.A.C. 5:23-4D.

Appellants, who are a seller of recreational park trailers, the owner of a 290-site campground in Sussex, N.J., where recreational park trailers are installed and the owners of a recreational park trailer, challenged the validity of these regulations on three grounds:

  • The UCC Act does not confer authority upon the DCA to regulate recreational park trailers under the code.
  • The  DCA’s regulation of recreational park trailers is pre-empted by the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act (Manufactured Housing Act), 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 5401-5426, and the regulations adopted thereunder.
  • The DCA adopted these regulations without conducting the analysis required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 to -21.

The court heard arguments Feb. 23 and returned its decision April 26, rejecting appellants’ arguments and affirming the validity of N.J.A.C. 5:23-9.3 and N.J.A.C. 5:23-4D.

Jay Otto, executive director of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association (NJCOA), recently informed his membership of the court’s decision.

In an e-mail to RVBUSINESS.COM, Otto noted, “Tall Timbers has spent a lot of money along with donations from ARVC, NJCOA, and NJRVDA fighting these regulations. However I am not surprised by the outcome. You have people making decisions in creating rules, and the interpretation, who have little knowledge of our industry and how and what recreational vehicles are and how they are used in our state. We have state codes that prohibit residency and domicile in a campground yet they create more restrictive regulations just because they can.

“I don’t believe Tall Timbers will pursue this any further. We in New Jersey will have to abide by the stringent restrictions or not purchase park trailers. The DCA has said in the past that they could regulate travel trailers if they wanted to. There has been a anti-business climate in New Jersey for years and we are now looking forward to that changing with our new governor, Chris Christie.”

Here is an excerpt from the court’s opinion:

The regulatory authority that Title 39 confers upon the Motor Vehicle Commission regarding recreational park trailers is limited to their operation upon highways; it does not extend to their installation in a mobile home park or campground. Thus, N.J.S.A. 39:10-6 requires a recreational park trailer to be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission before the owner may operate it on a highway, and N.J.S.A. 39:3-43 confers authority upon the Motor Vehicle Commission “to pass upon the construction and equipment of any vehicle . . . with a view to its safety for use in a street or highway[.]” (Emphasis added). However, Title 39 does not require the owner of a recreational park trailer that is simply parked in a mobile home park to register it with the Motor Vehicle Commission, and Title 39 does not confer authority upon the Commission to regulate the safety of a recreational park trailer as a place of human habitation. Therefore, like the Department of Health and Senior Services’ regulation of mobile park owners and operators, the Motor Vehicle Commission’s regulation of the operation of recreational park trailers on public highways is complementary, rather than antagonistic, to the DCA’s regulation of the installation of those trailers in mobile home parks and campgrounds.

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